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How will elevated CO2 affect the rate and quality of sap flow, and what will be the consequences for exudivorous marsupials

Project leader, researchers and collaborators: Assoc Prof Ben Moore (Lead), Assoc Prof Ross Goldingay, Southern Cross University

Funding period: 

Funding agency: 

Project summary:

Marsupial exudivores of Cumberland Plain Woodland include the sugar glider, squirrel glider and yellow-bellied glider.  These species feed to various extents on the phloem sap of trees, including E. tereticornis, as well as on floral nectar, pollen, insects, honeydew and lerp (excreted by aphids and scale insects) and manna.  Typically, individuals or family groups make characteristic V-shaped incisions on the tree bark and visit the site frequently and repeatedly while it is in use.

Elevated CO2 may alter the rates of flow of sap and the nutritional quality of it. These species may not use the FACE site, but this would not preclude analysis of sap-flow and quality.

Access to sapflow data is requested.  Sap production at simulated glider feeding wounds will also be measured and sap sampled for analysis of carbohydrates, amino acids and secondary metabolites.  These measurements will be taken from ten elevated CO2 and ten control trees of E. tereticornis, paired for size and foliar secondary chemistry. Trees will be sampled twice annually, commencing in winter 2012 to establish baseline sapflow before CO2 fumigation commences. Sap will be sampled from four aspects and two trunk heights on each tree. Sampling sites near to the ground will also be sampled both by day and by night at each sampling period. Glider feeding sites will be simulated using a sterile sharp implement with the experienced guidance of Ross Goldingay. Sap monitoring will continue for at least three years.

Yellow bellied glider, source

E. tereticornis


Squirrel glider, source