Secrets of a Long Life: Chemical Defense of Bark Beetles by Bristlecone Pines
From Anthony Garcia
"Bristlecone pines are iconic species that can live to be thousands of years old. Secrets to their great longevity include a stable environment, sectored architecture, and avoidance of fire. However, to survive thousands of years, these tree must also avoid getting attacked by tree-killing bark beetles. Only in the last few years have we begun to uncover how bristlecone pines do this. We use fieldwork, chemical ecology, and laboratory assays to understand the interactions between long-lived bristlecone pine species (Great Basin Bristlecone pine and foxtail pine), co-occurring limber pine, and the mountain pine beetle (MPB). Dr Justin Runyon will talk about recent and ongoing research examining (1) the plant volatile cues used by host-searching MPBs, (2) the terpene-based phloem defenses used against MPB larvae, and (3) tradeoffs between constitutive and induced defenses across these pine species. Understanding these interactions provide insight into the longevity of bristlecone pines, the implications for these species under climate change, and development of management tools to protect trees."