Polyphagous Beetle Research Paper

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Defense Against the Polyphagous Shot Hole Borer There has been a recent infestation on the campus of the University of California, Irvine that has forced many of the trees on campus to be cut down to prevent the spread of the infestation. The invasive species is known as the Polyphagous Shot Hole Borer (PSHB).The PSHB is a type of ambrosia beetle, and these beetles burrow and excavate tunnels deep inside the the vascular tissues of trees and cultivate the fungus that accompanies the beetles. The PSHB and its fungus, Fusarium euwallacea, have a mutualistic symbiotic relationship. The beetles provide an environment for the fungus to grow, and in turn the fungus becomes nutrients for the larvae and adult beetles. Because the fungus is cultivated in the xylem of the tree, the fungus obstructs water and mineral transport throughout the tree. The…show more content…
The main concern is that the fungus that the PSHB carries blocks water and nutrient transport in the xylem, and this results in fusarium dieback. Even if we cannot completely get rid of the invading PSHB species, if they cannot cultivate their fungi in host trees, they will not be able to feed or reproduce. If a tree has a natural fungicide, then it will become unsuitable to house the beetle-fungal complex. A study was conducted in 2007 in which the essential oil of Melaleuca alternifolia, a tea tree, was tested for its antifungal activity. In the study, all the tested fungi was susceptible to the tea tree oil (TTO) and its components [3]. Because of its ability to affect a wide range of fungi, TTO may also affect fusarium euwallacea and prevent the PSHB from being able to cultivate it within the tree xylem. I hypothesize that TTO will act as a natural fungicide and prevent or lessen the severity of fusarium dieback on infested trees. The independent variable is the percent amount of fungicide recommended used on a tree, and the dependent variable is amount of fungus present in the

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