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Marshall, J. (2008). Potential interaction between two allogenic ecosystem engineers, beaver and emerald ash borer. PHILICA.COM Observation number 50.

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Potential interaction between two allogenic ecosystem engineers, beaver and emerald ash borer

Jordan Marshallunconfirmed user (Department of Biology, Indiana University - Purdue University)

Published in zoo.philica.com

Observation
Beaver (Castor canadensis Kuhl), the quintessential ecosystem engineer, cause alteration of forest hydrology through dam construction that creates new habitats, modifies the previous forest state, and regulates resource availability to a wide range of different organisms [1,2,3,4]. Emerald ash borer [EAB] (Agrilus planipennis Fairmaire) is native to eastern Asia and has caused significant mortality of ash since first discovered in North America in 2002 [5,6]. Since all North American ash species are vulnerable to infestation, the removal of the three most common ash species (black, green, and white) from forests is expected to cause drastic changes within ecosystems these species dominate [7,8].

Several riparian tree species are used by beaver as food sources, including green ash, [9,10]. Selection of food trees by beaver is related to the abundance of certain species within the foraging areas [10,11]. In forests with high green ash densities, it would then be appropriate to hypothesize that beavers would preferentially select green ash as a food source. The feeding behavior of beaver produces a girdled tree that resembles a girdled trap tree used in EAB survey and research programs. The goal of a girdled trap tree, with a band of removed bark and phloem, is to induce volatile production by the stressed individual in an effort to attract EAB adults to the tree. Removing these trap trees would theoretically act as a sink for EAB larvae, reducing the population potential within a given forest. Although attractiveness varies on study [12,13], the focus for identifying an effective lure for EAB detection has focused on volatiles produced by stressed ash trees. As a result of beaver-induced stress in green ash, there is a possibility for EAB populations to reach density levels that can cause tree mortality more quickly; increases in stress hosts may increase the EAB population potential, as illustrated in other forest insects due to beaver feeding [4].

Observation circumstances
This observation was made during an emerald ash borer trapping experiment. Within an ash dominated forest, a beaver pond was discovered surrounded by girdled green ash trees. Beaver feeding resulted in ash trees with thinning canopies, fading foliage color, and a missing band of bark and phloem that resembled trees girdled for emerald ash borer survey and research.

References
1. Barnes, W.J. & Dibble. E. (1986). The effects of beaver in riverbank forest succession. Canadian Journal of Botany, 66, 40-44.
2. Jones, C.G., Lawton, J.H. & Shachak, M. (1997). Positive and negative effects of organisms as physical ecosystem engineers. Ecology, 78, 1946-1957.
3. Wright, J.P., Jones, C.G. & Flecker, A.S. (2002). An ecosystem engineer, the beaver, increases species richness at the landscape scale. Oecologia, 132, 96-101.
4. Bailey, J.K. & Whitham, T.G. (2006). Interactions between cottonwood and beavers positively affect sawfly abundance. Ecological Entomology, 31, 294-297.
5. Poland, T.M. (2007). Twenty million ash trees later: current status of emerald ash borer in Michigan. Newsletter of the Michigan Entomological Society, 52, 10-14.
6. Siegert, N. W., McCullough, D.G., Liebhold, A.M. & Telewski, F.W. (2007). Resurrected from the ashes: A historical reconstruction of emerald ash borer dynamics through dendrochronological analysis. In V. Mastro, D. Lance, R. Reardon & G. Parra (comps.), Emerald Ash Borer and Asian Longhorned Beetle Research and Technology Development Meeting. (pp. 18-19). FHTET-2007-04, USDA Forest Service, Morgantown, WV.
7. Hausman, C.E., Rocha, O.J. & Jaeger, J.F. (2008). How emerald ash borer facilitates a secondary spread of invasive plant species: Impacts of emerald ash borer eradication and tree mortality. In V. Mastro, D. Lance, R. Reardon & G. Parra (comp.), Emerald Ash Borer Research and Technology Development Meeting. (pp. 14-15). Forest Health Technology Enterprise Team, Morgantown, WV. FHTET-2008-07.
8. Herms, D.A., Gandhi, K.J.K., Cardina J., Long, R.P., Knight, K.S., Smith A. & McCullough, D.G. (2008). Impacts of emerald ash borer-induced gap formation on forest communities. In V. Mastro, D. Lance, R. Reardon & G. Parra (comp.), Emerald Ash Borer Research and Technology Development Meeting. (p. 10). Forest Health Technology Enterprise Team, Morgantown, WV. FHTET-2008-07.
9. Jenkins, S.H. & Busher, P.E. (1979). Castor canadensis. Mammalian Species No. 120. Lawrence, KS: American Society of Mammalogists.
10. Allen, A.W. (1983). Habitat Suitability Index Models: Beaver. U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. FWS/OBS-82/10.30.
11. Jenkins, S.H. (1981). Problems, progress, and prospects in studies of food selection by beavers. In J.A. Chapman & D. Pursley (Eds.), Worldwide Furbearer Conference Proceedings, Vol. I. (pp. 559-579). Frostburg, MD.
12. McCullough, D.G., Poland, T.M. & Cappaert, D.L. (2006). Attraction of emerald ash borer to trap trees: effects of stress agents and trap height. In V. Mastro, R. Reardon & G. Parra (comp.), Emerald Ash Borer Research and Technology Development Meeting. (pp. 61-62). Forest Health Technology Enterprise Team, Morgantown, WV. FHTET-2005-16.
13. Marshall, J.M., Storer, A.J., Fraser, I., Beachy, J.A. & Mastro V.C. (2008). Comparing emerald ash borer detection tools. In V. Mastro, D. Lance, R. Reardon & G. Parra (comp.), Emerald Ash Borer Research and Technology Development Meeting. (pp. 69-70). Forest Health Technology Enterprise Team, Morgantown, WV. FHTET-2008-07.

Information about this Observation
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This Observation was published on 28th October, 2008 at 20:56:34 and has been viewed 6743 times.

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This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 2.5 License.
The full citation for this Observation is:
Marshall, J. (2008). Potential interaction between two allogenic ecosystem engineers, beaver and emerald ash borer. PHILICA.COM Observation number 50.


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