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Ph.D. student researches method that could stop invasive tree

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Category: research Video duration: Ph.D. student researches method that could stop invasive tree
U.S. Army veteran and Tillman Scholar Tim Shively, a Ph.D. student in plant pathology, physiology, and weed science in the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences, is studying a biological control agent for an invasive tree. Inspired to serve by 9/11, Shively earned his undergraduate degree and commission at West Point.
Invasive species are usually non-Native, so they didn't evolve in the ecosystem where they're establishing. That creates a lot of problems because other parts of the ecosystem aren't adapted to its presence. My project focuses on an invasive tree called Atlantis Altis amount, or Tree of Heaven. It is a huge problem here on the East Coast and especially the mid-Atlantic region. It's been established for a couple of hundred years. Once you learn to recognize it, you'll see it everywhere. It's all over roadsides, railroads. It's probably the most common, most notorious invasive tree that we have here. So we're researching a biological control for the tree. So that's a fungus. It's actually a native fungus that was discovered here in the United States. And we can use it to apply directly to the trees and killed the trees without using other harsh chemicals. It's currently in the process of being registered with the EPA as a bio herbicide that would be available commercially. So we're just running trials with it, making sure it's efficacious that it works. And then it doesn't have spillover non-target effects. So I graduated West Point in 2010 and commissioned as a lieutenant in the army infantry. So I served eight years until 2018 and spent I spent a year in Afghanistan in 2,011.20, 12 and was a captain. At the time I got out. I was happy to do what I was doing, but I knew it wasn't going to be a lifetime commitment that I wanted to move on and do something else at some point in overtime. I just I've always loved the outdoors. I love hiking and just enjoying nature. So I knew I wanted to pursue something in that realm and that led me to NC State originally, I got a master's degree in forestry and met one of my current advisors, dr. Scott Salem, here at Virginia Tech. And so at the time it worked out, they were actually looking for a PhD student. And so that's how I got on board here at Virginia Tech.