Megan Fu

Host Water Stress Effects on Mealybug Vector Preference and Survivorship

Limited water availability in areas of drought can have implications on disease spread in crops. The goal of my research is to study water stress dynamics in grape plants and mealybugs, one of the major vineyard pests. Mealybug vectors transmit a family of viruses leading to Grapevine Leafroll Disease (GLD), causing uneconomical losses in vine health, grape quality, and yield. It is especially important to understand the effects of water stress on mealybug movement, as it may subsequently affect pathogen spread. I will be examining 1) mealybug settling preference between low stress and variable (low, medium, high) stress grapes, and 2) mealybug survivorship on low, medium, and high stress grapes. My results will inform irrigation management practices in response to disease, and may have implications for predicted climate change and disease dynamics.

Message to Sponsor

I am incredibly thankful to the Rose Hills Foundation for giving me the means and the opportunity to perform research this summer. I intend to pursue a doctorate and continue plant research professionally, and I hope this will bring me a step closer to accomplishing my dreams. I would like to extend my gratitude to SURF, my mentors Rodrigo Almeida and G. Kai Blaisdell, the Almeida Lab, and my family and friends for supporting my passion for science!
  • Major: Integrative Biology
  • Sponsor: SURF Rose Hills fellow
  • Mentor: Rodrigo Almeida, ESPM