Ozone affects leaf surface-pest interactions

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Tropospheric ozone (O3) levels are increasing around the world and damaging concentrations now occur in 25% of the world forests. This study was conducted at an open air CO2 and O3 exposure (Aspen FACE) facility in northern Wisconsin. Here, we present evidence for a link between long-term, low-level O3 exposure and alterations in trembling aspen (Populus tremuloides Michx.) epicuticular waxes resulting in consequential changes to leaf surface properties. In turn, these changes have resulted in increased incidence of natural infection by the aspen leaf rust (Melampsora medusae Thuem. f. sp. tremuloidae). These results have been consistent over 3 years varying in natural rust occurrence on three trembling aspen clones differing in O3 sensitivity. The presence of elevated CO2 did not alleviate the O3 effects. © 2003 Elsevier Science Ltd. All rights reserved.

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Developments in Environmental Science