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Herbivores and pathogens on Alnus viridis subsp. fruticosa in Interior Alaska: effects of leaf, tree, and neighbour characteristics on damage levels

TitleHerbivores and pathogens on Alnus viridis subsp. fruticosa in Interior Alaska: effects of leaf, tree, and neighbour characteristics on damage levels
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2008
AuthorsMulder, CPH, Roy, BA, Gusewell, S
JournalBotany
Volume86
Pagination408–421
Abstract

Parasite damage strongly affects dynamics of boreal forests. Damage levels may be affected by climate change, either directly or indirectly through changes in properties of host trees. We examined how herbivore and pathogen damage in Alnus viridis subsp. fruticosa (Rupr.) Nym. depend on leaf morphology and chemistry, tree size, and tree neighborhood. Damage and tree properties were measured in 2003 and 2004 on eight trees at each of 20 sites in Interior Alaska. Damage varied significantly among sites and among trees within sites, but Cartesian distances between sites were not correlated with similarity in damage levels. Compared with middle leaves, terminal leaves experienced less damage from phloem-feeding insects and pathogens, whereas leaf-roller damage was largely confined to terminal leaves. Summer drought in 2004 strongly reduced damage from phloem-feeding insects, while damage from chewing insects increased. Overall, herbivore damage was best explained by leaf morphology and chemistry, and pathogen damage by the proximity of other trees; the two damage types were not correlated with each other. Reproduction was negatively correlated with herbivore damage, but positively with pathogen damage. The contrasting relationships found for individual feeding guilds suggest that they must be studied separately in assessing impacts of climate change on parasite damage.

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