Interaction of pre-attack and induced monoterpene concentrations in host conifer defense against bark beetle-fungal complexes
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- Raffa, K.F. & Smalley, E.B. Oecologia (1995) 102: 285. doi:10.1007/BF00329795
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Two pine species (Pinus resinosa, P. banksiana) responded to inoculation with fungi carried by bark beetles by rapidly increasing monoterpene concentrations at the entry site. Changes in total monoterpenes were more pronounced than changes in proportionate compositions. The extent and rate of host response was affected by fungal species, the viability of the inoculum, and host tree species. In general, host responses were highest to fungi that are phytopathogenic and consistently associated with the major bark beetles in the study region. Simple mechanical wounding cannot account for the observed allelochemical changes, as aseptic inoculations elicited only minor reactions. Similarly, inoculation with autoclaved inviable fungi generally elicited intermediate responses, suggesting that both structural and metabolic fungal properties are important. Responses by jack pine, P. banksiana, were generally more rapid and variable than those of red pine, P. resinosa. Dose-toxicity experiments with synthetic compounds demonstrated that monoterpene concentrations present in vivo only a few days after simulated attack are lethal to most beetles. Constitutive (pre-attack) monoterpene levels can also exert some toxicity. Because bark beetles engage in pheromone-mediated mass attacks that can deplete host defenses, constitutive monoterpene levels, while a necessary early phase of successful plant defense, appear insufficient by themselves. Such interactions between constitutive and induced defense chemistry may be important considerations when evaluating general theories of plant defense.