Parasites: The Importance Of Mistletoe

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Parasites require resources gained from their hosts to stay alive and grow. Mistletoe is a type of parasite that establishes itself on trees and taps into the Xylem and Phloem of the tree to suck at its water and nutrients. In this study we examined the effect moister has on the abundance of the Mistletoe Phoradendron macrophyllum in the area of Wet Beaver Creek, Arizona. We took measurement of health tree diameter and species of 100 trees, 50 from a dry site and 50 from a site located along a perennial river, and counted the amount of mistletoe on each tree. Our results showed a significant difference between the amounts of mistletoe between the two sites. Trees at the perennial river site were in general more healthy had larger diameters,…show more content…
Many of our results support this hypothesis. The data we collected also suggested that tree diameter and tree health are effected by access to water as tress that were located at the perennial site were healthier and generally larger in dimeter. This is likely due to the consistent environed being consistently supplied by water, allowing trees to grow larger healthier and more abundantly. We found more Big Leafe Mistletoe on trees with greater diameter and greater health. This may be due to the fact that larger trees tend to be visited more regularly by birds due to their size as well as that larger trees are generally older increasing the time and chance birds will land on it, thus greater chance distributing more mistletoe seeds. Larger trees also contain deeper roots giving greater access to water and nutrients for the tree and any parasites that reside off the tree. This is important as it emphasizes water as a limiting factor for both tree health and diameter, which then extends to the Big Leafe mistletoe that colonize the tree. A study headed by John Lichter came to a similar conclusion regarding water’s effects on the early stages of host infection. Their results found that Phoradendron macrophyllum’s Ariel shoots were effected by local…show more content…
Mistletoe is a type of parasite that establishes itself on trees and taps into the Xylem and Phloem of the tree to suck at its water and nutrients. In this study we examined the effect moister has on the abundance of the Mistletoe Phoradendron macrophyllum in the area of Wet Beaver Creek, Arizona. We took measurement of health tree diameter and species of 100 trees, 50 from a dry site and 50 from a site located along a perennial river, and counted the amount of mistletoe on each tree. Our results showed a significant difference between the amounts of mistletoe between the two sites. Trees at the perennial river site were in general more healthy had larger diameters, and more individuals of mistletoe. This trend suggests that Big Leaf Mistletoe has a reliance on water to grow access to grow. Furthermore we found that different species of trees were effected significantly different by the mistletoe, as some species tended to have more infection such as the sycamore and others had none such as the juniper. These results help define a niche for these tree feeding parasites. This is important as many different species of Mistletoe interact with environments differently, some acting as keystone species helping the environment thrive with diversity; and some are detrimental killing the trees and ecosystems. In order to better understand how to deal with different types of populations depending on the

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