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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

Research Project: Management Practices to Mitigate Global Climate Change, Enhance Bio-Energy Production, Increase Soil-C Stocks & Sustain Soil Productivity...

Location: Soil Plant Nutrient Research (SPNR)

Title: Ethanol attracts scolytid beetles to Phytophthora ramorum cankers on coast live oak

Authors
item Kelsey, R. -
item Beh, M -
item Shaw, D. -
item MANTER, DANIEL

Submitted to: Journal of Chemical Ecology
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: March 7, 2013
Publication Date: March 24, 2013
Citation: Kelsey, R.G., Beh, M., Shaw, D., Manter, D.K. 2013. Ethanol attracts scolytid beetles to Phytophthora ramorum cankers on coast live oak. Journal of Chemical Ecology. 39:494-506.

Interpretive Summary: Ethanol in sapwood was analyzed along vertical transects, through small spot cankers and larger basal cankers, of Phytophthora ramorum-infected stems of Quercus agrifolia at three sites in California. Trees with large basal cankers, known to attract scolytid beetles, had a 4.3 times higher ethanol level than trees with spot cankers that attract fewer beetles. Ethanol concentrations inside cankers, where scolytid beetles preferentially attack, varied by about four orders of magnitude among samples, with a median level of 16.0 µg.g-1 fresh mass. This concentration was 4.3 and 15.5 times greater, respectively, than the concentrations at 1 cm or 15–30 cm outside the canker boundaries. In the laboratory, we demonstrated that ethanol escaped through the bark of a Q. garryana log just 3 days after it was added to the sapwood. At the three study sites, traps baited with ethanol captured more Xyleborinus saxesenii, Pseudopityophthorus pubipennis, and Monarthrum dentiger (all Coleoptera: Curculionidae: Scolytinae) than traps baited with ethanol plus (-)-a-pinene, or ethanol plus 4-allylanisole (4AA). Logs of Q. agrifolia with a 50 % ethanol solution added to the sapwood were placed at the study sites, with or without additional bark treatments above the ethanol. The number of scolytid beetle gallery holes above the ethanol-infused sapwood was 4.4 times greater than that on the opposite side of the log where no ethanol was added. Attachment of ultrahigh release (-)-a-pinene pouches to the bark surface above the 50 % ethanol solution reduced scolytid attacks to a density of 19.1 % that of logs without this treatment. We conclude that ethanol in P. ramorum cankers functions as a primary host attractant for scolytid beetles and is an important link in colonization of these cankers and accelerated mortality of Q. agrifolia. The results of this research shed light on the chemical ecology behind the focused scolytid attacks on P. ramorum-infected coast live oaks, and lay the groundwork for future efforts to prolong the survival of individual trees of this keystone species.

Technical Abstract: Technical abstract: Ethanol in sapwood was analyzed along vertical transects, through small spot cankers and larger basal cankers, of Phytophthora ramorum-infected stems of Quercus agrifolia at three sites in California. Trees with large basal cankers, known to attract scolytid beetles, had a 4.3 times higher ethanol level than trees with spot cankers that attract fewer beetles. Ethanol concentrations inside cankers, where scolytid beetles preferentially attack, varied by about four orders of magnitude among samples, with a median level of 16.0 µg.g-1 fresh mass. This concentration was 4.3 and 15.5 times greater, respectively, than the concentrations at 1 cm or 15–30 cm outside the canker boundaries. In the laboratory, we demonstrated that ethanol escaped through the bark of a Q. garryana log just 3 days after it was added to the sapwood. At the three study sites, traps baited with ethanol captured more Xyleborinus saxesenii, Pseudopityophthorus pubipennis, and Monarthrum dentiger (all Coleoptera: Curculionidae: Scolytinae) than traps baited with ethanol plus (-)-a-pinene, or ethanol plus 4-allylanisole (4AA). Logs of Q. agrifolia with a 50 % ethanol solution added to the sapwood were placed at the study sites, with or without additional bark treatments above the ethanol. The number of scolytid beetle gallery holes above the ethanol-infused sapwood was 4.4 times greater than that on the opposite side of the log where no ethanol was added. Attachment of ultrahigh release (-)-a-pinene pouches to the bark surface above the 50 % ethanol solution reduced scolytid attacks to a density of 19.1 % that of logs without this treatment. We conclude that ethanol in P. ramorum cankers functions as a primary host attractant for scolytid beetles and is an important link in colonization of these cankers and accelerated mortality of Q. agrifolia. The results of this research shed light on the chemical ecology behind the focused scolytid attacks on P. ramorum-infected coast live oaks, and lay the groundwork for future efforts to prolong the survival of individual trees of this keystone species.

Last Modified: 8/19/2014
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