Responses of trembling aspen (Populus tremuloides) phytochemistry and aspen blotch leafminer (Phyllonorycter tremuloidiella) performance to elevated levels of atmospheric CO2 and O3


Dr Brian Kopper. Tel.: +1 608 262 4319; fax: +1 608 262 3322; e-mail:


1 This research was conducted at the Aspen FACE (Free Air CO2 Enrichment) site located in northern Wisconsin, U.S.A. where trembling aspen (Populus tremuloides Michaux) trees were exposed to one of four atmospheric treatments: elevated carbon dioxide (CO2; 560 µL/L), elevated ozone (O3; ambient × 1.5), elevated CO2 and O3, or ambient air. We evaluated the effects of these fumigants on aspen foliar quality and the performance of aspen blotch leafminer (Phyllonorycter tremuloidiella Braun).

2 CO2 and O3 each affected foliar quality, with the major changes consisting of an 11% reduction in nitrogen under elevated CO2 and a 20% reduction in tremulacin under elevated O3. In the CO2 + O3 treatment, nitrogen levels were reduced by 15% and CO2 ameliorated the O3-mediated reduction in tremulacin levels.

3 Phyllonorycter tremuloidiella were allowed to colonize trees naturally. Elevated CO2 and O3 reduced colonization rates by 42 and 49% relative to ambient CO2 and O3, respectively. The only effect of fumigation treatments on larval performance occurred under elevated O3, where male development time and larval consumption increased by 8 and 28%, respectively, over insects reared under ambient O3.

4 These data demonstrate that the individual and combined effects of CO2 and O3 can alter aspen foliar chemistry and that these alterations in foliar chemistry produce little to no change in larval performance. However, both CO2 and O3 greatly reduced oviposition. In order to ascertain the full effects of CO2 and O3 on insect performance, future studies should address both population- and individual-level characteristics.