Dynamics of the Volatile Defense of Winter “Dormant” Balsam Poplar (Populus balsamifera)
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6-Hydroxycylohex-2-en-1-one (6-HCH) has been reported as a major chemical defense of the winter-dormant internodes of balsam poplar (Populus balsamifera) against feeding by herbivores such as the snowshoe hare (Lepus americanus). We report that the concentration of 6-HCH in the fall internodes is triggered by a single hard frost, and then undergoes an exponential decline through volatilization over the winter that results in barely detectable quantities by early spring. We conclude that the role of 6-HCH in the defense of mature balsam poplar is more complex than simply acting as a toxin. Rather, 6-HCH’s role as a defensive agent must evolve over the course of the winter from being a co-toxin to a cue for a conditioned flavor aversion (CFA) to finally having no role by late spring.
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- Dynamics of the Volatile Defense of Winter “Dormant” Balsam Poplar (Populus balsamifera)
Journal of Chemical Ecology
Volume 36, Issue 5 , pp 461-466
- Cover Date
- Print ISSN
- Online ISSN
- Additional Links
- Balsam poplar
- Populus balsamifera
- Snowshoe hare
- Conditioned flavor aversion
- Plant defense
- Industry Sectors
- Author Affiliations
- 1. Department of Chemistry & Biochemistry, University of Alaska Fairbanks, Fairbanks, AK, 99775-6160, USA
- 2. Department of Psychology, Stanford University, Stanford, CA, 94305, USA
- 3. Institute of Arctic Biology, University of Alaska Fairbanks, Fairbanks, AK, 99775-7000, USA
- 4. Department of Wildland Resources, Utah State University, Logan, UT, 84322-5230, USA