Canadian Forest Service Publications

Plasticity drives extreme cold tolerance of emerald ash borer (Agrilus planipennis) during a polar vortex. Duell, M.E., Gray, M.T., Roe, A.D., MacQuarrie, C.J.K., Sinclair, B.J., Current Research in Insect Science 2 (2022) 100031.

Year: 2022

Issued by: Great Lakes Forestry Centre

Catalog ID: 40642

Language: English

Availability: PDF (download)

Available from the Journal's Web site.
DOI: 10.1016/j.cris.2022.100031

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Plain Language Summary

We show how emerald ash borer (EAB) is adapting to Canada’s climate, and that the insect can tolerate extreme cold winter temperatures (-50°C). Here, we demonstrate that while EAB was able to thrive where it was first introduced in southwestern Ontario, it has enough plasticity to adapt to extreme temperatures in Winnipeg and across the range of ash in Canada. Our research shows we cannot rely on cold winter temperatures to limit spread, establishment, or impacts of EAB in Canada. This has implications for northwestern Ontario, for the prairies, and for northern regions in Atlantic Canada where the risk of establishment was previously predicted to be low due to overwintering mortality. With this level of tolerance to extreme cold, EAB is a risk to the rural plantings of ash in the Prairie Provinces and to cities like Edmonton and Calgary, where ash comprises some 50% of the urban forest canopy.