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How do forest trees defend themselves against insects under natural conditions and is this process affected by forest management?


Unsicker,  Sybille
Department of Biochemistry, Prof. J. Gershenzon, MPI for Chemical Ecology, Max Planck Society;

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When plants are being attacked by herbivore insects, they protect themselves by emitting volatiles that attract enemies of the insects. This has already been well investigated in greenhouse settings and on smaller plants but very little research has been done under natural conditions and on trees. In this video, SYBILLE UNSICKER explains how the research team studied this pattern in the forest ecosystem while also controlling for the influence of different land management regimes on the so-called “indirect plant defense”. The results show that predatory insects were indeed more attracted to the trees which were infested with caterpillars during the experiment. Surprisingly the forest management regime had no influence on the attraction of natural enemies.