Eric Faúndez

University of Santiago, Chile, Santiago, Region Metropolitana de Santiago, Chile

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Publications (5)5.47 Total impact

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    ABSTRACT: Host-plants can mediate the interactions between herbivores and their mutualists and also between parasitic plants and their mutualists. The present study reveals how a hemiparasitic plant parasitizing three host species gives rise to three distinct hemiparasite-host neighborhoods which differ in terms of volatile composition and pollinator attractiveness. The study was performed in a population of the mistletoe Tristerix verticillatus infecting three different species of hosts occurring in sympatry within a small area, thus exposing all individuals studied to similar abiotic conditions and pollinator diversity; we assessed the effect of hosts on the hemiparasites' visual and olfactory cues for pollinator attraction. During the study period, the hemiparasite individuals were flowering but the hosts were past their flowering stage. We collected volatile organic compounds from the hemiparasite and its hosts, measured floral display characteristics and monitored bird and insect visitors to inflorescences of T. verticillatus. We showed that: (1) floral patches did not differ in terms of floral display potentially involved in the attraction of pollinators, (2) hosts and hemiparasites on each host were discriminated as distinct chemical populations in terms of their volatile chemical profiles, (3) insect visitation rates differed between hemiparasites parasitizing different hosts, and (4) volatile compounds from the host and the hemiparasite influenced the visitation of hemiparasite flowers by insects. The study showed that a species regarded as "ornithophilic" by its floral morphology was actually mostly visited by insects that interacted with its sexual organs during their visits and carried its pollen, and that host-specific plant-volatile profiles within the T. verticillatus population were associated with differential attractiveness to pollinating insects.
    Oecologia 11/2009; 162(2):413-25. · 3.01 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: La cochinilla, Dactylopius coccus Costa (Homoptera: Dactylopiidae), es un insecto que crece sobre la tuna, Opuntia ficus-indica (L.) Mill. (Cactaceae), y es explotado por su capacidad para producir colorantes naturales basados en el ácido carmínico. La cochinilla fue introducida a Chile en 1989. Las exportaciones de cochinilla seca se iniciaron en 1994 y los volúmenes y montos se elevaron de manera significativa año a año, hasta alcanzar a cubrir más del 15% de la demanda mundial. Sin embargo, el precio actual de la cochinilla se acerca a los costos de producción, siendo necesario aumentar los rendimientos sin aumentar los costos. En este trabajo se describe el efecto de diversas variables bióticas sobre la concentración de ácido carmínico (CAC), la que fue afectada positivamente por la densidad de cochinillas en torno a la cochinilla focal, la edad y el estado nutricional de la planta, y negativamente por la edad del cladodio. La estación afectó significativamente la CAC: 16,9 % del peso seco de cochinilla en otoño y 19,1 % en primavera. Estos conocimientos abren la puerta para el diseño de estrategias de manejo que conduzcan a un incremento de la CAC en la cochinilla.
    Agricultura técnica, ISSN 0365-2807, Vol. 65, Nº. 3, 2005, pags. 323-329. 01/2005;
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    ABSTRACT: Leaf volatiles were collected from three Nothofagus species growing in close proximity in Los Ruiles National Reserve, Chile. The volatile preparation from leaves of No. alessandrii were attractive to the specialist aphid, Neuquenaphis staryi, but not to the generalist aphid, Ne. edwardsi, while the volatile preparations of No. dombeyi and No. glauca were attractive to Ne. edwardsi, but not to Ne. staryi. This reflects the pattern of aphid/host-plant associations. Alpha-Agarofuran was found to occur in all leaf volatile preparations and was shown by electroantennography and olfactometry to be attractive for both Neuquenaphis spp., suggesting it may be the Nothofagus host-recognition factor for Neuquenaphis. The factor(s) mediating Ne. stayi's specialization on No. alessandrii remain to be identified.
    Journal of Chemical Ecology 12/2004; 30(11):2231-41. · 2.46 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: A B S T R A C T The cochineal insect, Dactylopius coccus Costa (Homoptera: Dactylopiidae), grows on the prickly- pear cactus, Opuntia ficus-indica (L.) Mill. (Cactaceae), and is exploited for its capacity to pro- duce natural dyes based on carminic acid. Cochineal insects were introduced in Chile in 1989, and exports of dry cochineal began in 1994 and grew to cover approximately 15% of the world market. However, the current price of dry cochineal is nearing production costs; hence, it has become necessary to increase yields without increasing costs. This work reports on the effect of biotic factors on the concentration of carminic acid (CAC) in cochineal insects. CAC was positively affected by the density of cochineal insects around the insect, that was analyzed by plant age, and by the nutritional status of the plant, and was nega- tively affected by the age of the cladode. Additionally, CAC was significantly affected by season: 16.9% of dry weight in the Autumn and 19.1% in the Spring. This knowledge may be used in designing cultural strategies to increase carminic acid accumulation in cochineal insects.
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    ABSTRACT: The cochineal insect, Dactylopius coccus Costa (Homoptera: Dactylopiidae), grows on the prickly-pear cactus, Opuntia ficus-indica (L.) Mill. (Cactaceae), and is exploited for its capacity to produce natural dyes based on carminic acid. Cochineal insects were introduced in Chile in 1989, and exports of dry cochineal began in 1994 and grew to cover approximately 15% of the world market. However, the current price of dry cochineal is nearing production costs; hence, it has become necessary to increase yields without increasing costs. This work reports on the effect of biotic factors on the concentration of carminic acid (CAC) in cochineal insects. CAC was positively affected by the density of cochineal insects around the insect, that was analyzed by plant age, and by the nutritional status of the plant, and was negatively affected by the age of the cladode. Additionally, CAC was significantly affected by season: 16.9% of dry weight in the Autumn and 19.1% in the Spring. This knowledge may be used in designing cultural strategies to increase carminic acid accumulation in cochineal insects.
    Agricultura Técnica (ISSN: 0365-2807) Vol 65 Num 3.