Event Title

A Reconstruction of Emerald Ash Borer-induced Mortality in a Northeast Ohio Forest

Presenter Information

CJ Blair, Oberlin CollegeFollow

Location

King Building 241

Start Date

4-27-2018 3:00 PM

End Date

4-27-2018 4:20 PM

Abstract

The Emerald Ash Borer (EAB) is an invasive beetle that has killed millions of American ash trees (Fraxinus spp.). Anecdotal evidence suggests that ash populations at Chance Creek Preserve in Loraine County died almost simultaneously following the rapid spread of beetles through this site. However, no research has determined a mortality date for these trees, and some trees show more advanced decay than others. Based on these observations, we hypothesize that differences in tree characteristics influence ash mortality, and we predicted that a chronology of ash growth would show variation in mortality dates. Between September 2017 and January 2018, we obtained cores from over 200 dead ash trees throughout our 8-hectare study site. We measured the width of growth rings in all the cores to the nearest 0.001mm and developed a chronology of ash mortality dates using COFECHA software. We then obtained GPS coordinates for the ash trees and historic weather data for our site to explore correlates between ecological factors and ash mortality. Our results indicate that ash tree mortality spanned 1985 through 2012, with an exponential increase in mortality rate through the early 2000s. We also found that pre-2000 deaths coincided with increased temperature and major droughts, but mortality was not correlated with tree age or location. We therefore conclude that EAB reached Chance Creek Preserve between 2002 and 2003, and that prior deaths were climate-related, while subsequent deaths varied due to the growth of the EAB population over time.

Keywords:

ecology, ash mortality, emerald ash borer, invasion, stress, succession

Notes

Session V, Panel 14 - Ecological | Interactions
Moderator: Roger Laushman, Associate Professor of Biology and David Orr Associate Professor of Environmental Studies

Major

Biology

Advisor(s)

Roger Laushman, Biology

Project Mentor(s)

Roger Laushman, Biology

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Apr 27th, 3:00 PM Apr 27th, 4:20 PM

A Reconstruction of Emerald Ash Borer-induced Mortality in a Northeast Ohio Forest

King Building 241

The Emerald Ash Borer (EAB) is an invasive beetle that has killed millions of American ash trees (Fraxinus spp.). Anecdotal evidence suggests that ash populations at Chance Creek Preserve in Loraine County died almost simultaneously following the rapid spread of beetles through this site. However, no research has determined a mortality date for these trees, and some trees show more advanced decay than others. Based on these observations, we hypothesize that differences in tree characteristics influence ash mortality, and we predicted that a chronology of ash growth would show variation in mortality dates. Between September 2017 and January 2018, we obtained cores from over 200 dead ash trees throughout our 8-hectare study site. We measured the width of growth rings in all the cores to the nearest 0.001mm and developed a chronology of ash mortality dates using COFECHA software. We then obtained GPS coordinates for the ash trees and historic weather data for our site to explore correlates between ecological factors and ash mortality. Our results indicate that ash tree mortality spanned 1985 through 2012, with an exponential increase in mortality rate through the early 2000s. We also found that pre-2000 deaths coincided with increased temperature and major droughts, but mortality was not correlated with tree age or location. We therefore conclude that EAB reached Chance Creek Preserve between 2002 and 2003, and that prior deaths were climate-related, while subsequent deaths varied due to the growth of the EAB population over time.