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!
Upcycling 'fast fashion' to reduce waste and pollution
03.04.2017 | American Chemical Society
Litter is present throughout the world’s oceans: 1,220 species affected
27.03.2017 | Alfred-Wegener-Institut, Helmholtz-Zentrum für Polar- und Meeresforschung
More and more automobile companies are focusing on body parts made of carbon fiber reinforced plastics (CFRP). However, manufacturing and repair costs must be further reduced in order to make CFRP more economical in use. Together with the Volkswagen AG and five other partners in the project HolQueSt 3D, the Laser Zentrum Hannover e.V. (LZH) has developed laser processes for the automatic trimming, drilling and repair of three-dimensional components.
Automated manufacturing processes are the basis for ultimately establishing the series production of CFRP components. In the project HolQueSt 3D, the LZH has...
Reflecting the structure of composites found in nature and the ancient world, researchers at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign have synthesized thin carbon nanotube (CNT) textiles that exhibit both high electrical conductivity and a level of toughness that is about fifty times higher than copper films, currently used in electronics.
"The structural robustness of thin metal films has significant importance for the reliable operation of smart skin and flexible electronics including...
The nearby, giant radio galaxy M87 hosts a supermassive black hole (BH) and is well-known for its bright jet dominating the spectrum over ten orders of magnitude in frequency. Due to its proximity, jet prominence, and the large black hole mass, M87 is the best laboratory for investigating the formation, acceleration, and collimation of relativistic jets. A research team led by Silke Britzen from the Max Planck Institute for Radio Astronomy in Bonn, Germany, has found strong indication for turbulent processes connecting the accretion disk and the jet of that galaxy providing insights into the longstanding problem of the origin of astrophysical jets.
Supermassive black holes form some of the most enigmatic phenomena in astrophysics. Their enormous energy output is supposed to be generated by the...
The probability to find a certain number of photons inside a laser pulse usually corresponds to a classical distribution of independent events, the so-called...
Microprocessors based on atomically thin materials hold the promise of the evolution of traditional processors as well as new applications in the field of flexible electronics. Now, a TU Wien research team led by Thomas Müller has made a breakthrough in this field as part of an ongoing research project.
Two-dimensional materials, or 2D materials for short, are extremely versatile, although – or often more precisely because – they are made up of just one or a...
20.04.2017 | Event News
18.04.2017 | Event News
03.04.2017 | Event News
24.04.2017 | Physics and Astronomy
24.04.2017 | Materials Sciences
24.04.2017 | Life Sciences