Journal of
Ecology and The Natural Environment

  • Abbreviation: J. Ecol. Nat. Environ.
  • Language: English
  • ISSN: 2006-9847
  • DOI: 10.5897/JENE
  • Start Year: 2009
  • Published Articles: 355

Full Length Research Paper

Exploration of climate influences on the abundance of galls on red willow (Salix laevigata) across two riparian communities in Southern California

Tauras Vilgalys
  • Tauras Vilgalys
  • Biology Department, Loyola Marymount University, 1 LMU Dr. MS 8220, Los Angeles, CA 90045, United States.
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Rachael Sears
  • Rachael Sears
  • Environmental Science Program, Loyola Marymount University, 1 LMU Dr. MS 8220, Los Angeles, CA 90045, United States.
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Emily Hand
  • Emily Hand
  • Natural Science Department, Loyola Marymount University, 1 LMU Dr. MS 8220, Los Angeles, CA 90045, United States.
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Sara Morledge-Hampton
  • Sara Morledge-Hampton
  • Biology Department, Loyola Marymount University, 1 LMU Dr. MS 8220, Los Angeles, CA 90045, United States.
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Víctor D. Carmona-Galindo*
  • Víctor D. Carmona-Galindo*
  • Biology Department, Loyola Marymount University, 1 LMU Dr. MS 8220, Los Angeles, CA 90045, United States.
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  •  Received: 14 January 2014
  •  Accepted: 07 March 2014
  •  Published: 31 May 2014

Abstract

In Southern California, the red willow (Salix laevigata Bebb) hosts a variety of gall-inducing parasitic insects. However, little is known about the ecology of these parasites, particularly the characterization of their microclimate preferences. This study explores the relationship between microclimate and gall frequencies in S. laevigata in the Ballona Wetlands and Temescal Canyon, and gall count correlated with biotic and abiotic factors such as soil pH, soil moisture and willow density. Significantly more galls per leaf were found at Temescal Canyon than Ballona Wetlands. Although the number of galls per leaf correlated negatively with soil pH, soil moisture content and canopy openness, only site and gall location were found to significantly predict the number of galls. These results suggest that additional or interacting microclimate factors may influence gall frequencies between Temescal Canyon and the Ballona Wetlands.

Key words: Insect galls, microclimate, plant vigor hypothesis, self-thinning rule.