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A comparison of heat pulse velocity and lesion lengths for assessing the relative virulence of mountain pine beetle-associated fungi on jack pine

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The mountain pine beetle (MPB) vectors three blue-stain fungi, Grosmannia clavigera, Ophiostoma montium and Leptographium longiclavatum, which contribute to the success of the beetles and the death of the trees. The utility of two methods, heat pulse velocity (HPV) and lesion length, for assessing the relative virulence of these fungi were compared on jack pine in central Alberta. The HPV monitoring apparatus failed to detect xylem sap flow in any of the trees and, thus, could not be used to assess fungal virulence. In contrast, measurement of lesion lengths was more sensitive and provided further evidence that G. clavigera and L. longiclavatum are more virulent than O. montium. The failure of the HPV apparatus to detect sap flow suggests that the study trees were moisture stressed, a factor likely to increase their susceptibility to MPB. Thus, this method is not appropriate for assessing the response of the most susceptible (i.e. drought stressed) trees to MPB and its associated fungi.

Document Type: Research Article


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Publication date: August 1, 2008

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