Date of Award


Document Type

Master's Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Science in Forest Ecology and Management (MS)

College, School or Department Name

School of Forest Resources and Environmental Science


Andrew J. Storer


Invasive insects that successfully establish in introduced areas can significantly alter natural communities. These pests require specific establishment criteria (e.g. host suitability) that, when known, can help quantify potential damage to infested areas. Emerald ash borer (Agrilus planipennis [Coleoptera: Buprestidae]) is an invasive phloem-feeding pest which is responsible for the death of millions of ash trees (Fraxinus spp. L.). Over 200 surviving ash trees were previously identified in the Huron-Clinton Metroparks located in southeast Michigan. Trees were assessed over a four year period and a hierarchical cluster analysis was performed on dieback, vigor, and presence of signs and symptoms, in order to place trees into one of three tolerance groups. The clustering of trees with different responses to emerald ash borer attack suggests that there are different tolerance levels in North American ash trees in southeastern Michigan, and these groups were designated as apparently tolerant, not tolerant and intermediate tolerance. Adult landing rates and evidence of adult emergence were significantly lower in the apparently tolerant group compared with the not tolerant group, but larval survival from eggs placed on trees did not differ between tolerance groups. Therefore, it appears that apparently tolerant trees survive because they are less attractive to adult beetles which results in fewer eggs being laid on them. Trees in the apparently tolerant group remained of higher vigor over the four years of the study. North American ash may survive the emerald ash borer epidemic due to natural variation and inherent resistance regardless of the lack of co-evolutionary history with emerald ash borer.