We are just back from presenting at the Ecological Society of America annual meeting in Portland. Libby Roberson gave a nice talk on her results regarding the interaction of herbivores with native and invasive Euonymus species, and I presented our continually evolving results about the ability of emerald ash borer to use olive as a host, with co-author and lab alumnus, Chad Rigsby, and current PhD student, Donnie Peterson. It was good to catch up with Chad (now a postdoc at Rhode Island) and Sam Davis, lab alumnus and scientist with the Dogwood Alliance. It was also great to catch up with our good friend Adrienne Godschalx, who graduated just recently from Portland State University.
Dani Thiemann defended her MS in Spring 2017, finding that the falcate orangetip butterfly often makes the same mistakes as the West Virginia White butterfly, laying its eggs on the invasive garlic mustard on which its larvae all die. This is especially true later in the season when garlic mustard flowers and is more apparent than the native host, cut leaved toothwort (Cardamine concatenata).
Donnie has been working diligently to fill in the gaps on the use of white fringetree by emerald ash borer, including examinations of adult attraction to alternate hosts as well as adult use of foliage for maturation feeding. This has involved volatile capture and profiling, olfactometry, common garden studies and lots of bioassays. We have been aided greatly in such efforts this summer by Kate Butterbaugh, headed soon to New Mexico State University.
Marie Johnson has generated a great deal of data for her MS thesis on the demographics and growth dynamics of a disjunct hemlock population from Clifton Gorge, near Dayton. Clifton Gorge is a well known and highly visited state natural area and we need to study the hemlocks there before hemlock woolly adelgid arrives.
Finally, we look forward to having undergrad, Emily Schneider, back in the lab in the Fall. She will be testing some predictions of optimal defense theory in the emerald ash borer-host system.
Cheers, and I hope to provide more frequent updates in the future.