Date Approved

2011

Degree Type

Open Access Senior Honors Thesis

Department

Mathematics

First Advisor

Andrew M. Ross

Abstract

Stem rust of wheat (Puccinia grammis tritici) is certainly not a new fungal pathogen; however, in 1999 a new variety of the disease (which became known as Ug99) was discovered in eastern Africa. This new strain of wheat rust has become epidemic in this area of the world and hos now spread to parts of Asia and the Middle East, resulting in significant crop loss. Moreover, Ug99 has shown an ability to overcome resistance genes bread into wheat cultivars intended to find off stem rust. In this paper, we explore techniques to model the path of a hypothetical outbreak of a Ug99-variety stem rust in the United States of America and its effect on wheat production through a discrete deterministic model run via computer simulation. The model explores an adapted SEIR model for a single region and then extends it to consider the interactions between multiple regions. The effects of distance and wind patters are accounted form. Finally, a brief sensitivity analysis of the parameters used in the model is performed.

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