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Feeding damage to plants increases with plant size across 21 Brassicaceae species

Schlinkert, Hella; Westphal, Catrin; Clough, Yann LU ; Ludwig, Martin; Kabouw, Patrick and Tscharntke, Teja (2015) In Oecologia 179(2). p.455-466
Abstract
Plant size is a major predictor of ecological functioning. We tested the hypothesis that feeding damage to plants increases with plant size, as the conspicuousness of large plants makes resource finding and colonisation easier. Further, large plants can be attractive to herbivores, as they offer greater amounts and ranges of resources and niches, but direct evidence from experiments testing size effects on feeding damage and consequently on plant fitness is so far missing. We established a common garden experiment with a plant size gradient (10-130 cm height) using 21 annual Brassicaceae species, and quantified plant size, biomass and number of all aboveground components (flowers, fruits, leaves, stems) and their proportional feeding... (More)
Plant size is a major predictor of ecological functioning. We tested the hypothesis that feeding damage to plants increases with plant size, as the conspicuousness of large plants makes resource finding and colonisation easier. Further, large plants can be attractive to herbivores, as they offer greater amounts and ranges of resources and niches, but direct evidence from experiments testing size effects on feeding damage and consequently on plant fitness is so far missing. We established a common garden experiment with a plant size gradient (10-130 cm height) using 21 annual Brassicaceae species, and quantified plant size, biomass and number of all aboveground components (flowers, fruits, leaves, stems) and their proportional feeding damage. Plant reproductive fitness was measured using seed number, 1000 seed weight and total seed weight. Feeding damage to the different plant components increased with plant size or component biomass, with mean damage levels being approximately 30 % for flowers, 5 % for fruits and 1 % for leaves and stems. Feeding damage affected plant reproductive fitness depending on feeding damage type, with flower damage having the strongest effect, shown by greatly reduced seed number, 1000 seed weight and total seed weight. Finally, we found an overall negative effect of plant size on 1000 seed weight, but not on seed number and total seed weight. In conclusion, being conspicuous and attractive to herbivores causes greater flower damage leading to higher fitness costs for large plants, which might be partly counterbalanced by benefits such as enhanced competitive/compensatory abilities or more mutualistic pollinator visits. (Less)
Please use this url to cite or link to this publication:
author
organization
publishing date
type
Contribution to journal
publication status
published
subject
keywords
Antagonists, Herbivory, Plant fitness, Pollen beetles, Trophic, interactions
in
Oecologia
volume
179
issue
2
pages
455 - 466
publisher
Springer
external identifiers
  • wos:000361472300014
  • scopus:84941935489
ISSN
1432-1939
DOI
10.1007/s00442-015-3353-z
language
English
LU publication?
yes
id
4dce4e5a-54f6-4043-abf8-c7ece9b7267c (old id 8071153)
date added to LUP
2015-10-22 13:07:06
date last changed
2017-04-30 12:14:23
@article{4dce4e5a-54f6-4043-abf8-c7ece9b7267c,
  abstract     = {Plant size is a major predictor of ecological functioning. We tested the hypothesis that feeding damage to plants increases with plant size, as the conspicuousness of large plants makes resource finding and colonisation easier. Further, large plants can be attractive to herbivores, as they offer greater amounts and ranges of resources and niches, but direct evidence from experiments testing size effects on feeding damage and consequently on plant fitness is so far missing. We established a common garden experiment with a plant size gradient (10-130 cm height) using 21 annual Brassicaceae species, and quantified plant size, biomass and number of all aboveground components (flowers, fruits, leaves, stems) and their proportional feeding damage. Plant reproductive fitness was measured using seed number, 1000 seed weight and total seed weight. Feeding damage to the different plant components increased with plant size or component biomass, with mean damage levels being approximately 30 % for flowers, 5 % for fruits and 1 % for leaves and stems. Feeding damage affected plant reproductive fitness depending on feeding damage type, with flower damage having the strongest effect, shown by greatly reduced seed number, 1000 seed weight and total seed weight. Finally, we found an overall negative effect of plant size on 1000 seed weight, but not on seed number and total seed weight. In conclusion, being conspicuous and attractive to herbivores causes greater flower damage leading to higher fitness costs for large plants, which might be partly counterbalanced by benefits such as enhanced competitive/compensatory abilities or more mutualistic pollinator visits.},
  author       = {Schlinkert, Hella and Westphal, Catrin and Clough, Yann and Ludwig, Martin and Kabouw, Patrick and Tscharntke, Teja},
  issn         = {1432-1939},
  keyword      = {Antagonists,Herbivory,Plant fitness,Pollen beetles,Trophic,interactions},
  language     = {eng},
  number       = {2},
  pages        = {455--466},
  publisher    = {Springer},
  series       = {Oecologia},
  title        = {Feeding damage to plants increases with plant size across 21 Brassicaceae species},
  url          = {http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s00442-015-3353-z},
  volume       = {179},
  year         = {2015},
}