Rick G. Kelsey
PNW Research Station
Corvallis, OR 97331
Contact Rick G. Kelsey
ARRA Project Titled: Managing Fuel Loads by Limiting Mortality Caused by Bark Beetles and Sudden Oak Death.
The goal of this project is to investigate the use of various types of semiochemicals that are components of conifer resins, or heartwood tissues, for use in mitigating rates of tree mortality and subsequent fuel loading. Emphasis will be placed on reducing the rates of oak mortality from sudden oak death by using semiochemicals to minimize the attacks of bark and ambrosia beetles known to accelerated the death of infected trees. Additional studies will focus on preventing, or delaying host infection from Phytophthora ramorum with the aid of antimicrobial compounds from conifer heartwoods, as another potential approach for slowing mortality and fuel accumulation.
Chemical mediated interactions among plants and animals in forest and rangeland ecosystems.
Basic knowledge of the biological and physical interactions among disturbances (insects, diseases, fire, storms, invasives, herbivory, management and climate variablity), particularly those that have a synergistic interaction resulting in undesirable changes in forest ecosystems.
How disturbances influence the interactions among trees, insects, and pathogens.
Understanding the role of ethanol in the interactions of bark beetles, pathogens, and their host trees.
Delaying mortality of diseased oaks by mitigating bark and ambrosia beetle attacks.
Predicting Port-Orford-cedar resistance to Phytophthora lateralis using branch bark chemical biomarkers.
See list of most recent publications
Why This Research is Important
The biotic and abiotic environments surrounding trees are always changing, and if these events are of sufficient length or magnitude to stress the trees they are considered disturbances. High intensity, low frequency events such as fire, wind storms, insect outbreaks, and etc. cause acute stress that result in rapid and extensive tree injury or mortality. Low intensity, but more frequent events such as drought, disease, or endemic insect populations may cause chronic stress. When tree vigor is reduced from a single disturbance agent, they become more susceptible to other stressors. For example, trees stressed by drought are more susceptible to attack by insect and disease, and vice versa. The mechanisms and critical threshold linking multiple stressors, the trees responses, and the best management practices to increase the trees resilience are not clearly understood. Some of my studies are examining the interactions between insects, pathogens and their host trees, with or without additional stressors.
Since trees are immobile, long lived organisms they must obtain all of their life sustaining resources from their immediate surroundings to maintain, repair, or protect existing tissues, or grow new tissues. They have developed complex mechanical and chemical systems to minimize damage from insects, pathogens, and mammalian herbivores. Common classes of defensive compounds include phenolics, terpenoids, and alkaloids that can function as constitutive or induced defenses. Constitutive chemicals are synthesized during tissue development and often stored in a concentrated form that can be released in the initial stage of an invaders attack. Induced chemicals are not synthesized until after an attack begins, in response to mechanical damage or some other detection mechanism. The composition and quantities of the constitutive and induced chemical defense can vary tremendous among tree species, and with various intensities of stress. Physiological changes in response to stress may also induce trees to produce various volatile compounds that do not function in defense, but can serve as a stress signal that attracts bark or ambrosia beetles, and may enhance the growth of pathogens. Thus, improving our knowledge of how trees respond physiologically and phenologically to stress from disturbance(s) will provide useful information needed to improve the detection and monitoring of stressed trees and also help develop improved methods to manage their vulnerability to insects, pathogens, and other interacting disturbances. This information will also have value for selecting and breeding trees with greater resistance to disturbance agents.
- University of Montana, Ph.D Forestry, 1975
- University of Montana, B.S. Forestry, 1970
Featured Publications & Products
- Veluthoor, Sheeba; Li, Shujun; Kelsey, Rick G.; Dolan, Marc C.; Panella, Nicholas A.; Karchesy, Joe. 2010. Two new diterpene phenols from Calocedrus decurrans.
- Bentz, Barbara J.; Regniere, Jacques; Fettig, Christopher J.; Hansen, E. Matthew; Hayes, Jane L.; Hicke, Jeffrey A.; Kelsey, Rick G.; Negron, Jose F.; Seybold, Steven J. 2010. Climate change and bark beetles of the western United States and Canada: Direct and indirect effects.
- Kelsey, Rick G.; Forsman, Eric D.; Swingle, James K. 2009. Terpenoid resin distribution in conifer needles with implications for red tree vole, Arborimus longicaudus, foraging.
- Negron, Jose F.; Bentz, Barbara J.; Fettig, Christopher J.; Gillette, Nancy; Hansen, E. Matthew; Hayes, Jane L.; Kelsey, Rick G.; Lundquist, John E.; Lynch, Ann M.; Progar, Robert A.; Seybold, Steven J. 2008. US Forest Service bark beetle research in the western United States: Looking toward the future.
- Manter, Daniel K.; Kelsey, Rick G.; Karchesy, Joseph J. 2008. Photosynthetic declines are induced by Phytophthora ramorum infection and exposure to elicitins.
Publications & Products
- Kelsey, Rick G.; Beh, Maia; Shaw, Dave; Manter, Daniel K. 2013. Ethanol attracts scolytid beetles to Phytophthora ramorum cankers on coast live oak.
- Gerson, Elizabeth A.; Kelsey, Rick G.; St. Clair, Bradley J. 2012. Genetic variation of piperidine alkaloids in Pinus ponderosa from a common garden.
- Veluthoor, Sheeba; Kelsey, Rick G.; Gonzalez-Hernandez, M.P.; Panella, Nicholas; Dolan, Marc; Karchesy, Joe. 2011. Composition of the heartwood essential oil of incense cedar (Calocedrus decurrens Torr.).
- Manter, Daniel K.; Kelsey, Rick G.; Karchesy, Joseph J. 2008. Antimicrobial activity of extracts and select compounds in the heartwood of seven western conifers toward Phytophthora ramorum.
- Manter, Daniel K.; Kelsey, Rick G. 2008. Ethanol accumulation in drought-stressed conifer seedlings.
- Manter, Daniel K.; Kelsey, Rick G.; Karchesy, Joseph J. 2006. Isolation and characterization of phytotoxins secreted by Phytophthora ramorum.
- Thies, Walter G.; Kelsey, Rick G.; Westlind, Douglas J.; Madsen, Jeff. 2006. Potassium fertilizer applied immediately after planting had no impact on Douglas-fir seedling mortality caused by laminated root rot on a forested site in Washington State..
- Kelsey, Rick G.; Thies, Walter G.; Schmitt, Craig L. 2006. Using chemical markers to detect root disease in stressed ponderosa pine stands with a low incidence of disease in eastern Oregon..
- Kelsey, Rick G.; Hennon, Paul E.; Huso, Manuela; Karchesy, Joseph G. 2005. Changes in heartwood chemistry of dead yellow-cedar trees that remain standing for 80 years or more in southeast Alaska..
- Maguire, Chris C.; Adams, W. Thomas; Kelsey, Rick G. 2005. Chapter 7. Additional studies using CFIRP treatments: Douglas-fir genetics and ambrosia beetle log colonization..