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    Mass attack by tree-killing bark beetles (Curculionidae: Scolytinae) brings about large chemical changes in host trees that can have important ecological consequences. For example, mountain pine beetle (Dendroctonus ponderosae Hopkins) attack increases emission of terpenes by lodgepole pine (Pinus contorta Dougl. ex Loud.), affecting foliage flammability with consequences for wildfires. In this study, we measured chemical changes to Douglas-fir (Pseudotsuga menziesii var. glauca (Mirb.) Franco) foliage in response to attack by Douglas-fir beetles (Dendroctonus pseudotsugae Hopkins) as trees die and crowns transitioned from green/healthy, to green-infested (year of attack), to yellow (year after attack), and red (2 yr after attack). We found large differences in volatile and within-needle terpene concentrations among crown classes and variation across a growing season. In general, emissions and concentrations of total and individual terpenes were greater for yellow and red needles than green needles. Douglas-fir beetle attack increased emissions and concentrations of terpene compounds linked to increased tree flammability in other conifer species and compounds known to attract beetles (e.g., a-pinene, camphene, and D-limonene). There was little relationship between air temperature or within-needle concentrations of terpenes and emission of terpenes, suggesting that passive emission of terpenes (e.g., from dead foliage) does not fully explain changes in volatile emissions. The potential physiological causes and ecological consequences of these bark beetle-associated chemical changes are discussed.

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    Giunta, A. D.; Runyon, J. B.; Jenkins, M. J.; Teich, M. 2016. Volatile and within-needle terpene changes to Douglas-fir trees associated with Douglas-fir beetle (Coleoptera: Curculionidae) attack. Environmental Entomology. 45(5): 920-929.


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    bark beetle, terpene, wildfire, foliage, host attraction

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