Year of Graduation


Level of Access

Open Access Thesis

Embargo Period


Department or Program


First Advisor

Barry Logan


Arceuthobium pusillum is a hemiparasite that infects select Picea species. The hosts of A. pusillum do not experience the same symptoms of infection. A. pusillum infections are more fatal to P. marinara, and P. glauca. P. rubens, on the other hand, can survive longer with sustained infection. This presents itself as a contemporary issue because P. glauca, one of the parasite’s most vulnerable hosts, was untethered from ecological competition when old growth forests were subjected to large scale anthropogenic disturbances. These disturbances allowed P. glauca to proliferate, with A. pusillum following. A deeper understanding of the host-species specific responses to A. pusillum infection can broaden general knowledge of parasitic growth and development while also potentially inspiring conservation techniques. This study took advantage of the intrinsic differences between host and parasite to visualize infections in P. rubens and P. glauca, highlighting differences in infection outcome. By illuminating lignin and callose within cross sections of infected P. rubens and P. glauca branches, it was revealed that P. rubens forms dense bands of cells around the cortical strands of infection. These bands form more frequently in P. rubens than in P. glauca and are of a significantly larger area in P. rubens than in P. glauca (t(8), p=0.003, p=0.005). The discovery of the exterior bands is novel and exciting, as the bands are possibly made of callose and potentially facilitate P. rubens survival against A. pusillum infection. The foundational discoveries and results of this study should inspire, and warrant, further analysis.