Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Honors Thesis



First Advisor

Philip Villani


Plant defense mechanisms are well studied in many agriculturally relevant crops such as corn and tomatoes. Though less studied, the more ancestral nonvascular plants may be able to provide insights into the origin and working of modern plant defense systems. In this study, the bryophyte Physcomitrella patens was researched and the role of the jasmonic acid pathway in response to herbivory was investigated. Additionally, the impact of light intensity on the efficacy of this pathway was to be determined. After exposing the moss to various chemical elicitors and mechanical wounding, the activity of proteins produced in the JA pathway was measured. In P. patens, no definitive conclusions could be drawn regarding the role of JA in the defense against herbivory. Due to a lack of results from the initial experiments, the light experiments were not performed.