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Scholars Day: April 9, 2014

Emerald Ash Borer Induced Change in Western New York Forests

The emerald ash borer (EAB) is an invasive pest from Asia that has recently become established in Western New York, where ash is prevalent. This pest is known to kill more than 85% of Fraxinus trees within 3-5 years of establishment and therefore has the potential to cause dramatic change in ecosystem functioning. One hypothesis is that ash dominated sites will shift from atmospheric carbon sinks to carbon sources as ash are lost to EAB, and associated changes in production and decomposition occur. Another hypothesis is that this pest will set back the successional clock of infested sites, while shifting the sites towards a non-native plant community as non-native shrubs are already common in the understory. To test these hypotheses, stands with simulated EAB mortality are compared to adjacent uninfested control stands. Girdling successfully simulates EAB mortality and alters ecosystem functioning through inconsistent changes in microclimate and soil carbon dynamics.

Please note that presentation times are approximate. If you are interested in attending sessions with multiple presentations, please be in the room at the start of the session.
Presenter: Rebecca Bernacki (Graduate Student)
Topic: Environmental Science
Location: 218 Hartwell
Time: 9:45 am Session I