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Single-generation effects on terpenoid defenses in lodgepole pine populations following mountain pine beetle infestation

by Sharleen L. Balogh, Dezene P. W. Huber, B. Staffan Lindgren

The recent mountain pine beetle outbreak in western Canada provides an opportunity to study the selection and heritability of tree defenses. We examined terpenoid-based defenses of seedling lodgepole pines which were offspring of mature trees subjected to high levels of mountain pine beetle selective pressure. Seedlings were grown from one of three types of cones: old cones on live trees; young cones on live trees; and cones on trees killed by beetles. Offspring thus represented crosses of non-surviving (NS) x surviving (S), S x S, and NS x NS parents, respectively. Methyl jasmonate was used to induce a defensive reaction in the seedlings. Seed source had a significant effect on levels of ten different terpenes, but not on total terpene concentrations. When the seedlings were grouped by location and treatment type, the seedlings of different cone types could be almost entirely distinguished by terpene profiles.

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