Essential oil yield and composition reflect browsing damage of junipers

Gábor Markó, Veronika Gyuricza, Jeno Bernáth, V. Altbäcker

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

18 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

The impact of browsing on vegetation depends on the relative density and species composition of browsers. Herbivore density and plant damage can be either site-specific or change seasonally and spatially. For juniper (Juniperus communis) forests of a sand dune region in Hungary, it has been assumed that plant damage investigated at different temporal and spatial scales would reflect selective herbivory. The level of juniper damage was tested for a possible correlation with the concentration of plant secondary metabolites (PSMs) in plants and seasonal changes in browsing pressure. Heavily browsed and nonbrowsed junipers were also assumed to differ in their chemical composition, and the spatial distribution of browsing damage within each forest was analyzed to reveal the main browser. Long-term differences in local browsing pressure were also expected and would be reflected in site-specific age distributions of distant juniper populations. The concentrations of PSMs (essential oils) varied significantly among junipers and seasons. Heavily browsed shrubs contained the lowest oil yield; essential oils were highest in shrubs bearing no damage, indicating that PSMs might contribute to reduce browsing in undamaged shrubs. There was a seasonal fluctuation in the yield of essential oil that was lower in the summer period than in other seasons. Gas chromatography (GC) revealed differences in some essential oil components, suggesting that certain chemicals could have contributed to reduced consumption. The consequential long-term changes were reflected in differences in age distribution between distant juniper forests. These results confirm that both the concentration of PSMs and specific compounds of the essential oil may play a role in selective browsing damage by local herbivores.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1545-1552
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Chemical Ecology
Volume34
Issue number12
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2008

Fingerprint

Juniperus
essential oil
browsing
Volatile Oils
Juniperus communis
Metabolites
essential oils
secondary metabolite
secondary metabolites
damage
plant damage
Herbivory
Chemical analysis
herbivores
shrubs
shrub
Bearings (structural)
Age Distribution
age structure
herbivore

Keywords

  • Age distribution
  • Essential oil
  • Herbivory
  • Juniperus communis
  • Rabbit
  • Sheep

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics
  • Biochemistry

Cite this

Essential oil yield and composition reflect browsing damage of junipers. / Markó, Gábor; Gyuricza, Veronika; Bernáth, Jeno; Altbäcker, V.

In: Journal of Chemical Ecology, Vol. 34, No. 12, 12.2008, p. 1545-1552.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Markó, Gábor ; Gyuricza, Veronika ; Bernáth, Jeno ; Altbäcker, V. / Essential oil yield and composition reflect browsing damage of junipers. In: Journal of Chemical Ecology. 2008 ; Vol. 34, No. 12. pp. 1545-1552.
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