Navigation Links
Tree resin the key evidence of current and historic insect invasions

A University of Alberta-led research team has discovered that insects that bore into trees as long ago 90 million years, or as recently as last summer, leave a calling card that's rich with information.

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 methodthey 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.


Contact: Brian Murphy
University of Alberta

Related biology news :

1. Further research needed to develop evidence-based nutrition guidelines for cancer survivors
2. Jefferson researchers provide genetic evidence that antioxidants can help treat cancer
3. Scientists question indicator of fisheries health, evidence for fishing down food webs
4. More evidence that melanoma does not conform to the cancer stem cell model
5. Evidence is weak for tropical rainforest 65 million years ago in Africas low-latitudes
6. New evidence that fat cells are not just dormant storage depots for calories
7. Oldest evidence of dinosaurs found in Polish footprints
8. Researchers find first genetic evidence for loss of teeth in the common ancestor of baleen whales
9. Marine animals suggest evidence for a trans-Antarctic seaway
10. Animal bone markings show evidence that Lucy species used stone tools, ate meat
11. Scientists discover oldest evidence of human stone tool use and meat-eating
Post Your Comments:
(Date:11/18/2015)... York , November 18, 2015 ... Research has published a new market report titled  Gesture ... Trends, and Forecast, 2015 - 2021. According to the report, ... 2014 and is anticipated to reach US$29.1 bn by ... 2021. North America dominated ...
(Date:11/17/2015)... , November 17, 2015 ... au 19 novembre  2015.  --> Paris ... --> DERMALOG, le leader de l,innovation biométrique, ... la fois passeports et empreintes sur la même surface ... les passeports et l,autre pour les empreintes digitales. Désormais, ...
(Date:11/17/2015)... SOUTH EASTON, Mass. , Nov. 17, 2015 /PRNewswire/ ... "Company"), a leader in the development and sale of ... to the worldwide life sciences industry, today announced it ... closing of its $5 million Private Placement (the "Offering"), ... Offering to $4,025,000.  One or more additional closings are ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:11/27/2015)... November 27, 2015 ... popularity of companion diagnostics is one of ... market with pharmaceutical companies and diagnostic manufacturers ... tests. . --> ... report on global cancer biomarkers market spread ...
(Date:11/25/2015)... -- PharmAthene, Inc. (NYSE MKT: PIP) announced  today that its ... (Rights Plan) in an effort to preserve the value ... 382 of the Internal Revenue Code (Code). ... its NOLs could be substantially limited if the Company ... of the Code. In general, an ownership change occurs ...
(Date:11/25/2015)... Nov. 25, 2015  Neurocrine Biosciences, Inc. (Nasdaq: ... President and CEO of Neurocrine Biosciences, will be presenting ... New York . ... website approximately 5 minutes prior to the presentation to ... the presentation will be available on the website approximately ...
(Date:11/25/2015)... PORTLAND, Oregon , November 25, 2015 /PRNewswire/ ... Deep Market Research Report is a professional and ... Genomics industry.      (Logo: ... basic overview of the industry including definitions, classifications, ... analysis is provided for the international markets including ...
Breaking Biology Technology: