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Research Poster

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Botryosphaeria dothidea is an opportunistic fungal pathogen that infects plants, causing cankers to form on branches and stems, ultimately causing cell cavitation and embolism in the plant. Botyrosphaeria dothidea was found in much of the chaparral vegetation present in the Santa Monica Mountains prior to the November 2018 fire. In this study, we focused on the presence of Botryosphaeria dothidea in the chaparral plant Malosma laurina on Pepperdine University’s campus in 2 different populations: unburned and resprouts. We looked at whether the November 2018 fires had eliminated the pathogen from post-fire Malosma laurina resprouts, using the unburned Malosma laurina population as a control group. We hypothesized that the unburned population would have a higher amount of fungal growth than the resprouts. Furthermore, we tested the resilience of resprouts vs. adults by performing field inoculations using an aseptic technique. We determined that the resprouts demonstrated significantly less amount of growth of the fungal pathogen than unburned plants. Also, infected resprouts still showed a significantly higher amount of growth than in our uninfected control populations, showing that the process of inoculation was not the cause of our results.These results are consistent with our initial hypothesis.