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Theses and Dissertations

Interactions between the mountain pine beetle (Dendroctonus ponderosae Hopkins) and whitebark pine (Pinus albicaulis Engelmann) Open Access


Other title
life history traits
host quality
insect biodiversity
population dynamics
Type of item
Degree grantor
University of Alberta
Author or creator
Esch, Evan D.
Supervisor and department
Spence, John R (Renewable Resources)
Langor, David W (Canadian Forest Services)
Examining committee member and department
Erbilgin, Nadir (Renewable Resources)
Vinebrook, Rolf (Biological Sciences)
Spence, John R (Renewable Resources)
Langor, David W (Canadian Forest Services)
Department of Renewable Resources
Conservation Biology
Date accepted
Graduation date
Master of Science
Degree level
I compared life history traits between mountain pine beetles (MPB) utilizing whitebark pine and lodgepole pine to better understand how host use could affect MPB impact in the Rocky Mountains of Alberta, Canada. Neither host was obviously better in terms of quality for or susceptibility to the MPB, although whitebark pines with the thickest phloem produced significantly larger adult MPB. Thus, large diameter whitebark pines with thick phloem will contribute as much or more to the transition of MPB populations from endemic to epidemic status than will similarly large lodgepole pines. For some MPBs, a univoltine life-cycle was observed, suggesting that climatic barriers that have constrained high altitude MPB populations in the past are moderating, meaning that this endangered pine is at greater risk of MPB attack. Host species also influenced the assemblage of dead wood inhabiting beetles with seven uncommon species having potential to be specialists in whitebark pine.
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