Journal of Chemical Ecology (2013) 39, 1209-1220

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Inka Lusebrink, Nadir Erbilgin and Maya L. Evenden (2013)
The lodgepole × jack pine hybrid zone in Alberta, Canada: A stepping stone for the mountain pine beetle on its journey east across the boreal forest?
Journal of Chemical Ecology 39 (9), 1209-1220
Abstract: Historical data show that outbreaks of the tree killing mountain pine beetle are often preceded by periods of drought. Global climate change impacts drought frequency and severity and is implicated in the range expansion of the mountain pine beetle into formerly unsuitable habitats. Its expanded range has recently reached the lodgepole × jack pine hybrid zone in central Alberta, Canada, which could act as a transition from its historical lodgepole pine host to a jack pine host present in the boreal forest. This field study tested the effects of water limitation on chemical defenses of mature trees against mountain pine beetle-associated microorganisms and on beetle brood success in lodgepole × jack pine hybrid trees. Tree chemical defenses as measured by monoterpene emission from tree boles and monoterpene concentration in needles were greater in trees that experienced water deficit compared to well-watered trees. Myrcene was identified as specific defensive compound, since it significantly increased upon inoculation with dead mountain pine beetles. Beetles reared in bolts from trees that experienced water deficit emerged with a higher fat content, demonstrating for the first time experimentally that drought conditions benefit mountain pine beetles. Further, our study demonstrated that volatile chemical emission from tree boles and phloem chemistry place the hybrid tree chemotype in-between lodgepole pine and jack pine, which might facilitate the host shift from lodgepole pine to jack pine.
(The abstract is excluded from the Creative Commons licence and has been copied with permission by the publisher.)
Link to article at publishers website
Database assignments for author(s): Nadir Erbilgin

Research topic(s) for pests/diseases/weeds:
general biology - morphology - evolution
population dynamics/ epidemiology


Pest and/or beneficial records:

Beneficial Pest/Disease/Weed Crop/Product Country Quarant.


Dendroctonus ponderosae Pine (Pinus) Canada (west)