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Poster Abstract

The molecular basis of reduced biomass accumulation in hybrid poplar in response to herbivory and air pollution

Chris Frost, Teo Best, Scott DiLoreto, Ali Barakat, and John E. Carlson
The Schatz Center for Tree Molecular Genetics, School of Forest Resources
The Pennsylvania State University

Tree farms can provide high yields of uniform biomass for the production of fuels. However trees grown in managed plantations are susceptible to biotic stresses such as herbivores, and abiotic stresses such as air pollution, which can reduce biomass accumulation. We are investigating insect-induced biomass allocation shifts and ozone- induced early senescence in poplar. Trees employ a complex defense signaling strategy that includes the release of volatile airborne compounds in response to insect damage, and possibly ozone as well. Our current research is aimed at understanding 1) the role airborne signaling pathways have in overall defense and resulting biomass allocation in poplar, 2) the genetic basis of differences among poplar genotypes in susceptibility to ozone and herbivore damage, and 3) the genes involved in mediating these responses.