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Gall-inducing insects are an old evolutionary member of our world, but little is known about their impact on goldenrod, Solidago altissima’s growth and development. We tested the relationship between gall diameter and stem height and the effects of gall presence on stem height. We sampled 20 random 1m2 plots along a 30 meter long transect in a goldenrod field to find rosette and ball galls growing upon goldenrod. This transect was one of five other parallel transects, totaling approximately 150 m2 of land. We measured heights of galled plants, heights of healthy nearby plants, and the diameter of rosette and ball galls. We collaboratively obtained data for 9 ball galls and 96 rosette galls. I found that ball gall diameter has a strong inverse correlation with stem height and rosette gall diameter has a slight tendency to directly follow stem height. I observed ball galled stems having the exact same height proportions as ungalled healthy stems, whereas rosette galls have disproportionate heights compared to ungalled healthy stems. These results provide the necessary basis for determining the severity of effects gall-inducing insects have on goldenrod host plants.
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Ecology and Evolutionary Biology
Mummel, Sarah, "The Effects of Gall Formation due to Gall-Inducing Insects on Solidago Altissima’s Stem Height" (2020). 2020 Awards for Excellence in Student Research and Creative Activity. 1.