Cone and Seed Insects of Whitebark Pine (Pinus Albicaulis Engelm.)

EPA Grant Number: U915225
Title: Cone and Seed Insects of Whitebark Pine (Pinus Albicaulis Engelm.)
Investigators: Anderton, Laurel K.
Institution: University of Utah
EPA Project Officer: Michaud, Jayne
Project Period: January 1, 1997 through January 1, 2000
Project Amount: $68,000
RFA: STAR Graduate Fellowships (1997) RFA Text |  Recipients Lists
Research Category: Academic Fellowships , Ecological Indicators/Assessment/Restoration , Fellowship - Ecology and Ecosystems


The objectives of this research project are to: (1) To quantify cone and seed insect damage to whitebark pine cones as related to elevation and cone crop size of both whitebark pine and surrounding conifers,; and (2) to determine the effects, if any, of the seed bug Leptoglossus occidentalis Heidemann (Hemiptera: Coreidae) feeding on whitebark pine cones, conelets, and seeds, and whether this is influenced by altitude.


A survey will be conducted in whitebark pine stands in Idaho and western Montana, which will include sites of different elevations. Cones will be collected once in June and once in August, and will be dissected to ascertain the degree of insect damage to the seeds. Developed seeds will be radiographed and classified as filled, empty, or insect- damaged, and the type of insect responsible will be identified. Statistical tests will elucidate any correlation between the incidence of insect damage and elevation and/or the size of the cone crop of whitebark pine and surrounding conifers. Additional tests will be performed on the western conifer seed bug Leptoglossus occidentalis, which was found in a previous study to be a significant seed predator on whitebark pine. Feeding experiments in the laboratory and the field will show whether the seed bug feeds on first-year conelets as well as second-year cones, what degree of abortion it can cause, and whether altitude has any significant effect on feeding.

Supplemental Keywords:

fellowship, cone and seed insects, white bark pine, conifers, Leptoglossus occidentalis, Pinus Albicaulis Engelm., Idaho, Montana, insect damage.

Progress and Final Reports:

  • 1997
  • 1998
  • Final