Lydia I. Rivera Vargas

Lydia I. Rivera Vargas, Ph.D.
Plant Pathologist/Professor
Dept.Agro-Environmental Sciences
University of Puerto Rico-Mayaguez
Mayaguez, P.R. 00681
Tel.(787) 265-3852 ó (787) 832-4040 ext. 2351, 2313
Fax:(787) 265-3884

Dr. Lydia I. Rivera-Vargas has a Ph.D. in Plant Pathology from The Ohio State University and a M.S. in Biology (Mycology) from UPRM. She is the PI of a USDA NIFA HIS sponsored project entitled: Encouraging careers in food security and safety (ECaFSS) since 2016. She has taught Plant Pathology and related courses at the College of Agricultural Sciences of the UPR-Mayaguez Campus for over 20 years. Through her teaching she has inspired a broad group of undergraduate and graduate students to pursue studies in the disciple of plant pathology. Through mentoring, she has challenged her students to reach their full learning potential exploring sciences and preparing them for professional success.

Her lab focuses in the application of novel technologies in the characterization of tropical plant pathogens such as fungi, viruses, bacteria and phytoplasmas. Her expertise includes the characterization of plant pathogens of tropical crops through: morphology (i.e. microscopy, Scanning Electron Microscopy); immuno- (i.e. Immunostrips and ELISA) and molecular biology tools (i.e. PCR, nested PCR, RT-PCR, RFLP).


Tropical Plant Pathology/Mycology
Plant-Pathogen Interactions Molecular Plant Pathology


Undergraduate level

PROC 4006 Tropical Plant Pathology
PROC 5005 (Advanced) Plant Pathogenic Fungi
PROC 4995 and 4996 Undergraduate Special Problems

Graduate level
PROC 6010 and 6011: Graduate Seminar in Crop Protection PROC 6015: Molecular Aspects of Plant Pathology
PROC 6995 and 6996 Graduate Special Problems
PROC 6999: Research and Thesis


Research Projects:

2016-2020: Encouraging careers in food security and safety (ECaFSS) sponsored by USDA NIFA HIS.

2016-2019: Plants friends and foes: plant Interactions with other organisms sponsored by USDA NIFA.

Recent Publications (Last five years):

Caicedo, J., M. Crizón, A. Pozo, A. Cevallos, L. Simbaña, L. Rivera and V. Arahana, 2015. First report of ‘Candidatus Phytoplasma aurantifolia’ (16SrII) associated with potato purple top in San Gabriel-Carchi, Ecuador. New Disease Reports 32: 20.

Caicedo, J., L.I. Rivera Vargas, A. Segarra and R. Davis, 2015. Detection and molecular characterization of a group 16SrIX phytoplasma infecting citrus (Citrus sinensis and C. limon), coffee (Coffea arabica), periwinkle (Catharanthus roseus), and tabebuia (Tabebuia heterophylla) in Puerto Rico. Australasian Plant Dis. Notes (2015) 10:28. DOI 10.1007/s13314-015-0178-x

Calle, J., L.I. Rivera, M. Alameda and I. Cabrera. 2012. Bacteria occurring in onion (Allium cepa L.) foliage in Puerto Rico. J. Agric. Univ. P.R. 96(3-4): 199:219.

García Rodríguez, R., L.I. Rivera-Vargas and B. Irish. 201_. Pathogenic, morphological and genetic characterization of Fusarium oxysporum f. sp. cubense isolates affecting banana (Musa spp.) cultivars in Puerto Rico. Crop Protection (in preparation).

Rivera-Andujar, V., L.I. Rivera Vargas and A. Rodriguez. 2016. Fungal pathogens of Hyparhenia rufa (Nee) Stapf., an invasive weed in Puerto Rico, and their potential as biological control agents. J. Agric. Univ. P.R. 100(2);235-245.

Rivera Vargas, L.I. 2015. Conceptos y prácticas de laboratorio en Fitopatología. Manual curso Fitopatologia Tropical (PROC 4006). 51 pp. (revisado)

Rivera Vargas, L.I. e I. Cabrera. 2012. “Enfermedades del cultivo de cebolla”. In : Technological Package for Onion Production. (Conjunto tecnológico para la producción de cebolla). Publication 156. EEA, Rio Piedras. 95 pp.

Rivera Vargas, L.I. and V. Negron-Ortiz, 2013. Root and Soil-borne Oomycetes (Heterokontophyta) and Fungi Associated with the Endangered Conifer, Torreya taxifolia Arn. (Taxaceae) in Georgia and Florida, USA. Life: The Excitement of Biology 1 (4):201-223.

Serrato-Diaz L.M., Latoni-Brailowsky E.I., Rivera-Vargas L.I., Goenaga R.J., Crous P.W. and French-Monar R.D. 2013. First Report of Calonectria hongkongensis Causing Fruit Rot of Rambutan (Nephelium lappaceum L.)  Plant Disease 97(8): 1117.

Serrato-Diaz L.M., Perez-Cuevas M., Rivera-Vargas L.I., Goenaga R. and French-Monar, R. 2015. First report of Fusarium decemcellulare causing inflorescence wilt, vascular and flower necrosis of mango (Mangifera indica), longan (Dimocarpus longan) and rambutan (Nephelium lappaceum).  Plant Dis. (in press)

Serrato-Diaz, L.M., E. I. Latoni-Brailowsky, L. I. Rivera-Vargas, R. Goenaga, and R. D. French-Monar. 2012. First Report of Gliocephalotrichum bulbilium and G. simplex Causing Fruit Rot of Rambutan in Puerto Rico. Plant Dis. 96(8):1225.

Serrato-Diaz L.M., Pérez-Cuevas M., Rivera-Vargas L.I. and French-Monar. 2013. First Report of Neofusicoccum parvum Causing Rachis Necrosis of Mango (Mangifera indica L.) in Puerto Rico. Plant Dis. 97(10): 1381

Serrato-Diaz L.M., Pérez-Cuevas M., Rivera-Vargas L.I. and French-Monar. 2013. First Report of Lasiodiplodia theobromae Causing Inflorescence Blight of Mango. Plant Dis. 97(10): 1380

Serrato-Diaz, L.M., L. I. Rivera-Vargas and R. D. French-Monar, 2014. First Report of Diaporthe pseudomangiferae Causing Inflorescence Rot, Rachis Canker and Flower Abortion of Mango (Mangifera indica L.). Plant Dis. 98(7): 1004

Serrato-Diaz L.M., Rivera-Vargas L.I. and French-Monar. 2014. First Report of Lasiodiplodia theobromae Causing Inflorescence Blight and Fruit Rot of Longan (Dimocarpus longan L.) in Puerto Rico. Plant Dis. 98(2): 279.

Serrato-Díaz, L.M., L.I. Rivera-Vargas, R. Goenaga, E.D. Navarro and R. D. French-Monar. 2017. First report of Colletotrichum fructicola and C. queenslandicum causing fruit rot of rambutan (Nephelium lappaceum L.). Plant Dis. 101(6):1043.

Simbaña Carrera, L.L., L.I. Rivera-Vargas, A. E. Segarra Carmona and A. Bertaccini. 201_. Detection and identification of seven different phytoplasmas of palms in Puerto Rico (in review).

Webster, C. G., de Jensen, C. E., Rivera-Vargas, L. I., Rodrigues, J. C. V., Mercado, W., Frantz, G., Mellinger, H. C., and Adkins, S. 2013. First report of Tomato chlorotic spot virus (TCSV) in tomato, pepper, and jimsonweed in Puerto Rico. Online. Plant Health Progress doi:10.1094/PHP-2013-0812-01-BR.



Graduate Students:

Ashley Avilés

Undergraduate students

Mariela Butler Octavio Rivera Hernández Naomi Maldonado Yesenia Vélez

Research Assistant

Lorena Simbaña, Ag. Eng. & M.S. – UPR-Mayagüez, P.R

Research Technician

Víctor González, Agro. & M.S. – UPR-Mayagüez, P.R.