Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Tree resin the key evidence of current and historic insect invasions

23.03.2011
A University of Alberta-led research team has discovered that insects that bore into trees as long ago 90 million years, or as recently as last summer, leave a calling card that's rich with information.

The information is contained in the resin found within trees and on their bark. Resin is produced in large quantities by a tree when it's under attack by insects.

Normally, to assess if a tree is under an attack from boring insects researchers have sometimes had to rip patches of bark from healthy trees. But now forestry workers looking for the telltale sign of insect borings in tree trunks have a far less invasive method—they can just examine the resin that collects in clumps on the tree trunk.

An attack by boring beetles typically affects trees in two ways. The boring action damages the phloem layer just under the bark, which cuts off the passage of nutrients within the trunk. Also, beetles often introduce a fungus that spreads into the woody xylem tissue of the tree and starves the treetop of water. A side-effect of insect invasion and water stress is a reduction in the tree's ability to absorb carbon dioxide from the atmosphere. Carbon dioxide is necessary for life-sustaining photosynthesis.

The research team, including U of A paleontology graduate student Ryan McKellar, looked for subatomic-sized isotopic evidence that indicates water stress levels in trees as a result of an insect attack.

The team discovered a common marker in carbon isotopes found in the resin of living trees under insect attack and in the fossilized resin or amber produced by ancient trees going as far back as the age of dinosaurs: they both contain elevated levels of carbon-13.

McKellar's group also found evidence of boring beetles and the increased presence of carbon-13 within amber fossils dating back in the geological record to 90 million and 17 million years ago. The locations are as geographically removed as present-day New Jersey and the Dominican Republic.

With this finding the researchers suggest that two or the world's major amber deposits may have been produced by insect attacks like mountain pine beetle that are seen in modern ecosystems.

This discovery will help researchers understand the history of insect infestations.

McKellar's research will be published March 23 in Proceedings of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences.

Brian Murphy | EurekAlert!
Further information:
http://www.ualberta.ca

More articles from Ecology, The Environment and Conservation:

nachricht How does the loss of species alter ecosystems?
18.05.2017 | Deutsches Zentrum für integrative Biodiversitätsforschung (iDiv) Halle-Jena-Leipzig

nachricht Excess diesel emissions bring global health & environmental impacts
16.05.2017 | International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis (IIASA)

All articles from Ecology, The Environment and Conservation >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Wafer-thin Magnetic Materials Developed for Future Quantum Technologies

Two-dimensional magnetic structures are regarded as a promising material for new types of data storage, since the magnetic properties of individual molecular building blocks can be investigated and modified. For the first time, researchers have now produced a wafer-thin ferrimagnet, in which molecules with different magnetic centers arrange themselves on a gold surface to form a checkerboard pattern. Scientists at the Swiss Nanoscience Institute at the University of Basel and the Paul Scherrer Institute published their findings in the journal Nature Communications.

Ferrimagnets are composed of two centers which are magnetized at different strengths and point in opposing directions. Two-dimensional, quasi-flat ferrimagnets...

Im Focus: World's thinnest hologram paves path to new 3-D world

Nano-hologram paves way for integration of 3-D holography into everyday electronics

An Australian-Chinese research team has created the world's thinnest hologram, paving the way towards the integration of 3D holography into everyday...

Im Focus: Using graphene to create quantum bits

In the race to produce a quantum computer, a number of projects are seeking a way to create quantum bits -- or qubits -- that are stable, meaning they are not much affected by changes in their environment. This normally needs highly nonlinear non-dissipative elements capable of functioning at very low temperatures.

In pursuit of this goal, researchers at EPFL's Laboratory of Photonics and Quantum Measurements LPQM (STI/SB), have investigated a nonlinear graphene-based...

Im Focus: Bacteria harness the lotus effect to protect themselves

Biofilms: Researchers find the causes of water-repelling properties

Dental plaque and the viscous brown slime in drainpipes are two familiar examples of bacterial biofilms. Removing such bacterial depositions from surfaces is...

Im Focus: Hydrogen Bonds Directly Detected for the First Time

For the first time, scientists have succeeded in studying the strength of hydrogen bonds in a single molecule using an atomic force microscope. Researchers from the University of Basel’s Swiss Nanoscience Institute network have reported the results in the journal Science Advances.

Hydrogen is the most common element in the universe and is an integral part of almost all organic compounds. Molecules and sections of macromolecules are...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Dortmund MST Conference presents Individualized Healthcare Solutions with micro and nanotechnology

22.05.2017 | Event News

Innovation 4.0: Shaping a humane fourth industrial revolution

17.05.2017 | Event News

Media accreditation opens for historic year at European Health Forum Gastein

16.05.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

New approach to revolutionize the production of molecular hydrogen

22.05.2017 | Materials Sciences

Scientists enlist engineered protein to battle the MERS virus

22.05.2017 | Life Sciences

Experts explain origins of topographic relief on Earth, Mars and Titan

22.05.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>