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YPIE Scientist: Ava

Updated: Jun 10, 2022

Research: What Are the Characteristics of Eastern Hemlock Trees with Wooly Adelgid Infestation?

Awards: Somers Science Fair 2022 Participant


The adelus tsugae is an invasive parasite from the islands of Japan, that leeches on specifically eastern hemlock trees and starves them of nutrients needed to create its own foliage. In Japan, there are two lines of lineage for this insect, T. sieboldii and T. diversifolia. Tsuga sieboldii grows further south west, with lower elevations, while Tsuga diversifolia grows at higher elevations in the north east- which it now mainly occupies in the United States. HWA are identified by the cotton-like white masses that mainly stick to twigs and needles; these ‘sacs’ resemble the tip of a cotton swab, which makes them generally facile to identify compared to other parasites you may need to find via peeling the bark off the tree. Wooly adelgids have single handedly reset the successional sequences of eastern hemlock trees; the result of complex interactions between the organism and parasite, which leads to a change in the botanical composition of the plant.

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