Dr. Monica L. Elliott

Research: Etiology and Management of Fungal Palm Diseases

Dr. Elliott currently conducts research on etiology and management of fungal palm diseases. Identification of a new forma specialis of Fusarium oxysporum in Florida has brought the number of ff. spp. affecting palms to four, with two of them occurring in Florida.  Fusarium oxysporum f. sp. palmarum appears to be very different, as it is primarily spread by wind-blown spores and has an ever-expanding host range within the palm family.  The genome of Fusarium oxysporum f. sp. palmarum is currently being compared with that of Fusarium oxysporum f. sp. canariensis, the other Fusarium wilt pathogen occurring in Florida.

Other current research is focused on:  1) comparing specific genes of Gandoderma zonatum from isolates obtained from numerous palm species throughout Florida to determine intraspecific differences; and 2) comparing Botryosphaeriaceae isolates obtained from palms exhibiting petiole/rachis blight symptoms.  Recently completed research examined Serenomyces isolates obtained from palms in Florida.  Samples of these pathogens have been deposited in collection of the University of Florida Mycological Herbarium.

Professor, Plant Pathologist