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Herbivory Differentially Affects Plant Fitness in Three Populations of the Perennial Herb Lythrum salicaria along a Latitudinal Gradient
Uppsala University, Disciplinary Domain of Science and Technology, Biology, Department of Ecology and Genetics, Plant Ecology and Evolution.
Uppsala University, Disciplinary Domain of Science and Technology, Biology, Department of Ecology and Genetics, Plant Ecology and Evolution.
2015 (English)In: PLoS ONE, ISSN 1932-6203, E-ISSN 1932-6203, Vol. 10, no 9, e0135939Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

Herbivory can negatively and selectively affect plant fitness by reducing growth, survival and reproductive output, thereby influencing plant population dynamics and evolution. We documented intensity of herbivory and experimentally examined its effect on survival, growth and reproductive output in three natural populations of the perennial herb Lythrum salicaria along a latitudinal gradient from southern to northernmost Sweden over two years. The intensity of herbivory and the effects of herbivory on plant fitness were strongest in the southern population and intermediate in the central population. The mean proportion of the leaf area removed ranged from 11% in the southern to 3% in the northern population. Herbivore removal increased plant height 1.5-fold in the southern and 1.2-fold in the central population, the proportion plants flowering 4-fold in the southern and 2-fold in the central population, and seed production per flower 1.6-fold in the southern and 1.2-fold in the central population, but did not affect plant fitness in the northern population. Herbivore removal thus affected the relative fecundity of plants in the three populations: In the control, seed output per plant was 8.6 times higher in the northern population compared to the southern population, whereas after herbivore removal it was 2.5 times higher in the southern population compared to the northern. Proportion of leaf area removed increased with plant size, but tolerance to damage did not vary with size. The results demonstrate that native herbivores may strongly affect the demographic structure of L. salicaria populations, and thereby shape geographic patterns of seed production. They further suggest that the strength of herbivore-mediated selection varies among populations and decreases towards the north.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2015. Vol. 10, no 9, e0135939
Keyword [en]
Galerucella calmariensis, Galerucella pusilla, Herbivore removal, Nanophyes marmoratus, Plant-herbivore interactions, Plant resistance, Plant size, Plant tolerance, Seed production
National Category
Botany Ecology
Research subject
Biology with specialization in Ecological Botany
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:uu:diva-247084DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0135939ISI: 000360437700025OAI: oai:DiVA.org:uu-247084DiVA: diva2:794853
Funder
Swedish Research Council
Available from: 2015-03-13 Created: 2015-03-13 Last updated: 2017-12-04Bibliographically approved
In thesis
1. Ecological and Evolutionary Consequences of Herbivory in the Perennial Herb Lythrum salicaria
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Ecological and Evolutionary Consequences of Herbivory in the Perennial Herb Lythrum salicaria
2015 (English)Doctoral thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

In this thesis, I combined field, common-garden and greenhouse experiments to examine the ecological and evolutionary consequences of plant-herbivore interactions in the perennial herb Lythrum salicaria. More specifically I examined (1) whether resistance and tolerance to damage from herbivores vary with latitude and are positively related to the intensity of herbivory in natural populations, (2) whether effects of herbivory on plant fitness vary with latitude, (3) whether populations are locally adapted and whether herbivory influences the relative fitness of populations, and (4) whether the intensity and effects of insect herbivory on reproductive output vary locally along a disturbance gradient and are associated with differences in plant resistance.

A common-garden and a greenhouse experiment demonstrated that plant resistance decreased whereas plant tolerance increased with latitude of origin among populations sampled along a latitudinal gradient in Sweden. Oviposition and feeding preference in the greenhouse and leaf damage in the common-garden experiment were negatively related to natural damage in the source populations.

Experimental removal of insect herbivores in three populations sampled along the latitudinal gradient demonstrated that intensity of herbivory and its effects on plant fitness decreased towards the north. A reciprocal transplant experiment among the same three populations showed that herbivory affected the relative fitness of the three populations, but did not detect any evidence of local adaptation. Instead the southernmost population had the highest relative fitness at all three sites.

A herbivore-removal experiment conducted in nine populations in an archipelago in northern Sweden demonstrated that insect herbivory strongly influenced among-population variation in reproductive output. However, variation in resistance was not related to differences in intensity of herbivory at this spatial scale.

Taken together, the results demonstrate that resistance and tolerance to herbivory vary with latitude but in opposite directions, that intensity of herbivory is a major determinant of flowering and seed output, and that the strength of herbivore-mediated selection varies among populations in Lythrum salicaria. They further indicate that both physical disturbance regime and latitudinal variation in abiotic conditions may strongly influence the performance and abundance of perennial herbs because of their effects on interactions with specialized herbivores.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Uppsala: Acta Universitatis Upsaliensis, 2015. 37 p.
Series
Digital Comprehensive Summaries of Uppsala Dissertations from the Faculty of Science and Technology, ISSN 1651-6214 ; 1238
Keyword
Disturbance gradient, Female reproductive success, Galerucella calmariensis, Galerucella pusilla, Herbivore removal, Latitudinal gradient, Local adaptation, Nanophyes marmoratus, Plant-herbivore interactions, Plant size, Resistance to herbivory, Tolerance to damage
National Category
Natural Sciences
Research subject
Biology with specialization in Ecological Botany
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:uu:diva-247088 (URN)978-91-554-9196-3 (ISBN)
Public defence
2015-05-08, Zootissalen, Villavägen 9, Uppsala, 10:00 (English)
Opponent
Supervisors
Available from: 2015-04-17 Created: 2015-03-13 Last updated: 2015-07-07

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Lehndal, LinaÅgren, Jon

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