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Specificity of induced defenses, growth, and reproduction in lima bean (Phaseolus lunatus) in response to multispecies herbivory

AuthorsMoreira Tomé, Xoaquín ; Abdala-Roberts, Luis; Hernández-Cumplido, Johnattan; Cuny, Maximilien A. C.; Glauser, Gaétan; Benrey, Betty
KeywordsDiabrotica balteata
Lima bean
Phaseolus lunatus
Phenolic compounds
Seed germination
Seed mass
Spodoptera eridania
Issue DateAug-2015
PublisherBotanical Society of America
CitationAmerican Journal of Botany 102 (8):1300-1308 (2015)
AbstractPREMISE OF THE STUDY: Following herbivore attack, plants can either reduce damage by inducing defenses or mitigate herbivory effects through compensatory growth and reproduction. It is increasingly recognized that such induced defenses in plants are herbivore-specific, but less is known about the specificity of compensatory responses. Damage by multiple herbivores may also lead to synergistic effects on induction and plant fitness that differ from those caused by a single herbivore species. Although largely unstudied, the order of arrival and damage by different herbivore species might also play an important role in the impacts of herbivory on plants.
METHODS: We investigated the specificity of defense induction (phenolics) and effects on growth (number of stems and leaves) and reproduction (number of seeds, seed mass, and germination rate) from feeding by two generalist leaf-chewing herbivores (Spodoptera eridania and Diabrotica balteata) on Phaseolus lunatus plants and evaluated whether simultaneous attack by both herbivores and their order of arrival influenced such dynamics.
KEY RESULTS: Herbivory increased levels of leaf phenolics, but such effects were not herbivore-specific. In contrast, herbivory enhanced seed germination in an herbivore-specific manner. For all variables measured, the combined effects of both herbivore species did not differ from their individual effects. Finally, the order of herbivore arrival did not influence defense induction, plant growth, or seed number but did influence seed mass and germination.
CONCLUSIONS: Overall, this study highlights novel aspects of the specificity of plant responses induced by damage from multiple species of herbivores and uniquely associates such effects with plant lifetime fitness.
Publisher version (URL)http://dx.doi.org/10.3732/ajb.1500255
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