Research Plant Pathologist
| Dr. Mark A. Weaver|
Biological Control of Pests Research Unit
National Biological Control Laboratory
59 Lee Road
PO Box 67
Stoneville, MS 38776
Dr. Mark Weaver is a plant pathologist on the Augmentatative Bioherbicide research team, and is presently researching tactics for integrated kudzu control. His research has documented effective herbicides and mechanical methods to control kudzu.
The Weaver lab is works on strain improvement and strain selection of the bioherbicidal fungus, Myrothecium verrucaria. A highly effective pathogen against a broad spectrum of weeds, especially kudzu, Myrothecium verrucaria produces toxic compounds known as trichothocene mycotoxins. The Weaver lab is using mutagenesis, molecular biology and cultural techniques to disrupt the trichothocene biosynthetic pathway, with the goal of finding mycotoxin-free strains of the fungus.
Another research direction is post-release monitoring of bioherbicides. Molecular markers are being developed to facilitate the tracking of deployed bioherbicide organisms, which in turn will aid in developing spatial and temporal models of the epidemic and observe the persistence of the released organism.
Prior to joining the biocontrol program, Dr. Weaver was a Post Doctoral Research Assistant in the Zablotowicz lab, where he studied whole-community microbial ecology, edge-of-field best management practices (BMP's) and herbicide fate in wetland soils. He has previous experience with the ecology of Trichoderma and Aspergillus.