Middle East

Screaming tree asks for help: predator to rescue

Experimental studies of oak trees, oak leaf-eating caterpillars, and caterpillar-eating predators reveal a complex network of interactions.

Trees can “speak”, but their communication is through scents rather than the acoustics of humans and other mammals. Each tree species has a unique bouquet of animal-distinguishable volatile organic compounds (VOCs). For example, leaf-eating insects focus on the host tree via the following volatile organic compounds:

Still, trees are not completely powerless when leaf-eating insects find leaves, munching and protecting themselves. How are you doing

Dr. Martin Wolf, Recent research,Tell you TRT World “The canopy of the forest is a very diverse environment, so he was encouraged to do this experiment. Most of the species that live there are tree-eating insect herbivores.” I add that. “So I was always very interested in exploring what strategies to use to defend against the many natural enemies that trees face.”

“When attacked by herbivores, trees begin to release small organic compounds carried by the air,” Volf said in an email. TRT World.. “Predators can pick up these scents to find the tree under attack, which allows them to find and feed herbivores.”

Trees produce bitter substances that leaf-eating insects do not want to ingest, and also emit VOCs to warn different parts of the tree.

This allowed trees to attract other animals such as birds and predatory insects, and learned to interpret the meaning of VOCs in the news release notes. These animals fly to trees, start eating leaf-eating insects, and get rid of pest trees.

Thus, so to speak, the screams of trees can be heard across the forest, helping the trees to wipe out leaf-eating insects.

“The fact that plants can be chemically attracted by parasitoid wasps, predatory insects, and even birds when attacked by pests has long been known,” Volf said in a news release. increase. Volf led the research at the German Center for Integrated Biodiversity Research (iDiv) and is currently working at the Biology Center of the Czech Academy of Sciences.

“But this defense has never been tested against mature trees in a realistic environment,” Volf adds.

“This is made possible by a combination of research methods, from animal behavior experiments at 40 meters high in iDiv’s Leipzig Canopeak Lane in the floodplain forest to molecular analysis of plant scents by metabolomics.” He says. Metabolomics Is “a large-scale study of small molecules commonly known as metabolites in cells, body fluids, tissues, or organisms.” In this case, it is a leaf.

Researchers simulated leaf-eating herbivores in the spring by spraying branches onto adult oak crowns (“Quercus robur L.) Methyl jasmonate (MeJA) is used. It is “used in ecological studies to simulate herbivores by chewing insects,” they say.This allowed them to test their effectiveness Triggered defense – Plant reaction to damage from predators or mechanical damage.

Researchers also super-glued green non-toxic clay dummy caterpillars (3 mm diameter, 30 mm long) to oak leaves to simulate attacks by real caterpillars in addition to methyl jasmonate.

They left the caterpillars in place for 2.5 weeks during the induction period. They checked their beaks and bites every few days and replaced the missing ones. They also noted the abundance of real caterpillars.

Researchers also tested the leaves in the laboratory with real moth larvae. They fed both insect-induced and non-induced (control) leaves. Gypsy moth caterpillar (Remantoria Disper) It was shown that the tree produced VOCs that insects did not want to eat, such as tannins that avoid induced leaves and repel insects.

Wolf says TRT World Researchers have worked with orcs in this particular experiment. However, he says other projects are also working with “tropical trees such as lime trees, hornbeams, willows, or figs.” The entire experiment setup is quite complicated. “

He summarizes the complexity in one word TRT World Reader: “In short, we expose trees to real herbivores or provoke hormonal reactions that make them appear to be under attack,” he explains. “Next, we will monitor the changes in chemical defenses evoked by this actual or simulated herbivore and how the resulting changes affect predators and herbivores.”

In the news release, researchers say that predators (birds, parasitoids, predatory insects, etc.) visited the induced branches rather than the control branches. They were called to help the tree and to feed what was eating the tree by the tree.

Asked about the most important points from the experiment, Volf says TRT World “The main message is that ecological interactions between organisms are fascinatingly complex. Rarely are there only two species that interact.”

He states: Here, the tree used chemical defenses to attract predators to get rid of herbivores. If you understand these interactions and are likely to benefit from them in terms of pest control, you need to study them completely in a complex way. “

Wolff said he especially enjoyed the interdisciplinary nature of the project. “Such collaborations between biologists, ecologists and chemists are needed to understand natural processes and how they change, especially in response to ongoing global changes. . “

Source: TRT World and distributors

https://www.trtworld.com/life/screaming-trees-seek-help-predators-to-the-rescue-54381?utm_source=other&utm_medium=rss Screaming tree asks for help: predator to rescue

Back to top button