Paul D. Peterson

Research Associate Professor, Plant Pathology



Office: 843-307-2966

Entomology, Soils, and Plant Sciences

Pee Dee Research and Education Center

Ph. D., Plant Pathology, North Carolina State University
M.A., History, North Carolina State University
B.A., History, North Carolina State University

Plant Pathology; Epidemiology

Research interest:
My current research involves laboratory and field investigations of Ralstonia solanacearum, the cause of bacterial wilt disease that effects a wide range of host plants, including potato, tomato, eggplant, banana, geranium, ginger, tobacco, sweet pepper, and olive. My goals are to better understand the biology and epidemiology of this disease and to use this information to develop more effective crop management strategies. Prior to work on bacterial wilt, my research at the Pee Dee REC centered on the biology, epidemiology, and integrated management of a newly emerging plant disease on turfgrass called rapid blight, caused by Labyrinthula terrestris. I initiated some of the first efforts to understand and control this new disease. Successful investigations included the identification and molecular phylogeny of the organism, tolerances of cool-season turfgrasses to rapid blight, the relationship of salinity to disease development, and the integrated management of the disease through chemical and cultural practices. In addition to my science research, I am also a historian with a primary interest in examining how plant diseases and the science of plant pathology have impacted biology, agriculture, and society. I serve as the official Historian of the American Phytopathological Society, the leading scientific society dedicated to the study of plant disease.

Clement, K.M.T., W. Marshall, R. Yokoyama, D. Honda, J.C. Lippmeier, K.D. Craven, P.D. Peterson, M.L. Berbee. 2009. Labyrinthulomycetes phylogeny and its implications for the evolutionary loss of chloroplasts and gain of ectoplasmic gliding. Molecular Phylogenetics and Evolution 50:129-140.

Camberato, J.J., P.D. Peterson, S.B. Martin. 2006. Salinity and salinity tolerance alter rapid blight in Kentucky bluegrass, perennial ryegrass, and slender creeping red fescue. Online. Applied Turfgrass Science doi:10.1094/ATS-2006-0213-01-RS.

Peterson, P.D., K.J. Leonard, A.P. Roelfs, and T.B. Sutton. 2005. The effect of barberry eradication on changes in populations of Puccinia graminis in Minnesota. Plant Disease 89:935-940.

Peterson, P.D., S.B. Martin, and J.J. Camberato. 2005. Tolerance of cool-season turfgrasses to rapid blight disease. Online. Applied Turfgrass Science doi:10.1094/ATS-2005-0328-01-RS.

Peterson, P.D., Craven, K.D., T.K. Mitchell, and S.B. Martin. 2005. Molecular identification of the turfgrass rapid blight pathogen. Mycologia 97:160-166.

Peterson, P.D., K.J. Leonard, J.D. Miller, R.J. Laudon, and T.B. Sutton. 2005. Prevalence and distribution of common barberry, the alternate host of Puccinia graminis, in Minnesota. Plant Disease 89:159-163.

Peterson, P.D., and C.L. Campbell. 2002. The prevalence and association of cucumber leaf spot pathogens in North Carolina. Plant Disease 86:1094-1100.

Professional society activity:
Agricultural History Society
American Phytopathological Society
History of Science Society
International Society for the History, Philosophy and Social Studies of Biology
Sigma Xi