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Defensive traits in young pine trees cluster into two divergent syndromes related to early growth rate

AuthorsMoreira Tomé, Xoaquín ; Sampedro Pérez, Luis ; Zas Arregui, Rafael ; Pearse, Ian S.
Issue Date30-Mar-2016
PublisherPublic Library of Science
CitationPLoS ONE 11 (3): e0152537 (2016)
AbstractThe combination of defensive traits leads to the evolution of ‘plant defense syndromes’ which should provide better protection against herbivores than individual traits on their own. Defense syndromes can be generally driven by plant phylogeny and/or biotic and abiotic factors. However, we lack a solid understanding of (i) the relative importance of shared evolution vs. convergence due to similar ecological conditions and (ii) the role of induced defense strategies in shaping defense syndromes. We investigate the relative roles of evolutionary and ecological factors shaping the deployment of pine defense syndromes including multiple constitutive and induced chemical defense traits. We performed a greenhouse experiment with seedlings of eighteen species of Pinaceae family, and measured plant growth rate, constitutive chemical defenses and their inducibility. Plant growth rate, but not phylogenetic relatedness, determined the deployment of two divergent syndromes. Slow-growing pine species living in harsh environments where tissue replacement is costly allocated more to constitutive defenses (energetically more costly to produce than induced). In contrast, fast-growing species living in resource-rich habitats had greater inducibility of their defenses, consistent with the theory of constitutive-induced defense trade-offs. This study contributes to a better understanding of evolutionary and ecological factors driving the deployment of defense syndromes.
Description12 páginas, 3 figuras y 1 tabla.
Publisher version (URL)https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0152537
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