Pushpa Soti, Ph.D.

Contact Information

Assistant Professor
Office: ESCNE 2.320
Phone: (956) 665-3131
Email: pushpa.soti@utrgv.edu 

Currently Teaching

  • BIOL 3409 - Ecology
  • BIOL 6285 - Graduate Research
  • BIOL 7300 - Thesis I


  • Ph.D. Florida International University, Miami, FL, 2013
  • M.S. Florida Atlantic University, Davie, FL, 2008

Areas of Expertise

  • Weedy and exotic invasive plant ecology
  • Plant-soil-microbe interactions
  • Sustainable agriculture
  • Ecological restoration
  • Community ecology


Much of my work focuses on the ecology and management of weeds and invasive plants in both agroecosystems and natural areas. My primary research goal is to understand why and how plant invasions occur and apply ecological principles in weedy and invasive plant management at the systems level. My current research work includes the investigation of complex interactions between plant and soil processes towards integrated weed management providing land managers and farmers with tools to reduce reliance on chemicals. Currently, we are conducting both large scale field trials and controlled experiments to compare differences in weed and pest suppression, crop performance, and yield following winter and summer season cover crop treatments, which include a three- species cover crop mix and single cover crop trials. We also examine below ground biotic interactions (including mycorrhizae and nematodes) and their ecological implications on soil chemistry as it relates to on-farm productivity and agricultural sustainability.

Recent Publications

Soti, P. G., Kariyat Ramachandr, R. R., Racelis, A. E. Effective farm management promotes native AMF and benefit organic farming systems. Agriculture, Ecosystems & Environment.

Garcia, O.**, Dana Garibaldi***, Krissa Jhaveri***, Jake Lanoue***, Soti, P. (2022). Soil nematode community composition under Amaranthus palmeri and Parthenium hysterophorus, and their influence on the weeds’ growth​. Journal of Agriculture Science.

Holland, E. P., Thomas, V.**, Soti, P. (2022). Low soil nitrogen and moisture limit the expansion of invasive grass, Megathyrsus maximus (Guinea grass) in semi-arid soils. Journal of Arid Environments.

Chaudhary, V. B., Holland E.P., Charman-Anderson, S., Guzman, A., Bell-Dereske, L., Cheeke, T., Corrales, A., Duchicela, J., Egan, C., Gupta, M. M., Hannula, S. E., Hestrin, R., Hoosein, S., Kumar, A., Mhretu, G., Neuenkamp, L., Soti, P., Xie, Y., Helgason, T. (2022) What are mycorrhizal traits? Trends in Ecology and Evolution

Lavallee, K.**, Soti, P., Rodrigo, P. H., Kariyat Ramachandr, R. R., Racelis, A. E. (2021). Pre-Sowing Treatments Improve Germinability of South Texas Native Plant Seeds. Plants, 10(11), 2545. 10.3390/plants10112545

Soti, P., Thomas, V.** (2022). Review of the Invasive Forage Grass, Guinea Grass (Megathyrsus maximus): Ecology and Potential Impacts in Arid and Semi-Arid Regions. Weed Research.

Barrera, D.***, Luera, J., Lavalle, K.***, Soti, P. (2021). Influence of Microbial Priming and Seeding Depth on Germination and Growth of Native Wildflowers. Ecological Processes.

Soti, P., Toprak, B., De La Rosa, N.**, Jayachandran, K. (2021). Influence of land use intensity and management on arbuscular mycorrhizal fungi – avocado symbiosis. Journal of Agricultural Sciences.

Luera, P.**, Wahl-Villarreal, K., Christoffersen, B., Treviño, A.*, Soti, P., Gabler, C. A. (2021). Effects of Scarification, Phytohormones, Soil Type, and Warming on the Germination and/or Seedling Performance of Three Tamaulipan Thornscrub Forest Species. Plants, 10(8), 1489.

Lopez, H.**, Soti, P., Jagdale, G., Grewal, P., Racelis, A. (2021). Weeds as Hosts of Plant Parasitic Nematodes in Subtropical Agriculture Systems. Subtropical Agriculture and Environments.

Martinez, L., Soti, P., Kaur, J., Racelis, A., Kariyat, R. (2020). Impact of Cover Crops on Insect Community Dynamics in Organic Farming. Agriculture, 10(6), 209.

Kaur, J., Chavana, J., Soti, P., Racelis, A., Kariyat, R. (2020). Arbuscular mycorrhizal fungi (AMF) influences growth and insect community dynamics in Sorghum-sudangrass (Sorghum x drummondii). Arthropod-Plant Interactions, 1--15.

Soti, P., Purcell, M., Jayachandran, K. (2020). Soil Biotic and Abiotic Conditions Negate Invasive Species Performance in Native Habitat. Ecological Processes.

Soti, P., Racelis, A. (2020). Cover crops for weed suppression in semiarid subtropical Texas. Organic Agriculture.

Soti, P., Goolsby, J., Racelis, A. (2020). Agricultural and Environmental Weeds of South Texas and their Management. Subtropical Agriculture and Environments.