Date of Award


Document Type

Honors Project

University Scholars Director

Dr. Christine Chaney

First Advisor/Committee Member

Dr. Ryan Ferrer


induced resistance, acclimatization, wounding, high performance liquid chromatography, chemical ecology


It is commonly known that plants may produce salicylic acid as a chemical defense response to wounding, although the phenomenon has usually been observed with regard to insect herbivory. Stem and leaf tissue of two species, Tsuga heterophylla and Holodiscus discolor, which are often eaten by deer, were extracted in methanol and analyzed by HPLC to quantify salicylic acid concentration in experimentally wounded or control samples. No salicylic acid response was detectable in T. heterophylla, suggesting it is a less useful candidate species for future study. Some but not all H. discolorsamples had a measurable salicylic acid response, which raises further questions about why only some samples produced detectable amounts of salicylic acid in response to the same simulated herbivory wound. However, it also establishes that H. discolor produces salicylic acid in response to wounding under some circumstances, thereby marking H. discolor as a possible species for further study. Understanding how chemical responses form in response to large mammal grazing may provide insight into how humans indirectly affect plants and their interactions with herbivores, which could have applications for public lands or conservation efforts. An appendix includes the transcript of the presentation of this project at the 2021 SPU Honors Research Symposium, as part of the panel “Considering Research as Ethical and Inclusive Storytelling.”


A project submitted in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the Bachelor of Arts degree in Honors Liberal Arts.

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