Correlations between physical and chemical defences in plants: tradeoffs, syndromes, or just many different ways to skin a herbivorous cat?

Moles, Angela T., Peco, Begoña, Wallis, Ian R,, Foley, William, Poore, Alistair G.B., Seabloom, Eric W., Vesk, Peter A., Bisigato, Alejandro, Cella-Pizarro, Lucrecia, Clark, Connie J., Cohen, Philippe S., Cornwell, William K., Edwards, Will, Ejrnæs, Rasmus, Gonzalez-Ojeda, Therany, Graae, Bente J., Hay, Gregory, Lumbwe, Fainess, Magaña-Rodríguez, Benjamin, Moore, Ben, Peri, Pablo, Poulsen, John R., Stegen, James C., Veldtman, Ruan, von Zeipel, Hugo, Andrew, Nigel R., Boulter, Sarah L., Borer, Elizabeth T., Cornelissen, Joannes H.C., Farji-Brener, Alejandro, DeGabriel, Jane L., Jurado, Enrique, Kyhn, Line A., Low, Bill, Mulder, Christa P.H., Reardon-Smith, Kathryn, Rodríguez-Velázquez, Jorge, De Fortier, An, Zheng, Zheng, Blendinger, Pedro G., Enquist, Brian J., Facelli, Jose M., Knight, Tiffany, Majer, Jonathan D., Martinez-Ramos, Miguel, McQuillan, Peter, and Hui, Francis K.C. (2013) Correlations between physical and chemical defences in plants: tradeoffs, syndromes, or just many different ways to skin a herbivorous cat? New Phytologist, 198 (1). pp. 252-263.

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Abstract

Most plant species have a range of traits that deter herbivores. However, understanding of how different defences are related to one another is surprisingly weak. Many authors argue that defence traits trade off against one another, while others argue that they form coordinated defence syndromes. We collected a dataset of unprecedented taxonomic and geographic scope (261 species spanning 80 families, from 75 sites across the globe) to investigate relationships among four chemical and six physical defences. Five of the 45 pairwise correlations between defence traits were significant and three of these were tradeoffs. The relationship between species' overall chemical and physical defence levels was marginally nonsignificant (P=0.08), and remained nonsignificant after accounting for phylogeny, growth form and abundance. Neither categorical principal component analysis (PCA) nor hierarchical cluster analysis supported the idea that species displayed defence syndromes. Our results do not support arguments for tradeoffs or for coordinated defence syndromes. Rather, plants display a range of combinations of defence traits. We suggest this lack of consistent defence syndromes may be adaptive, resulting from selective pressure to deploy a different combination of defences to coexisting species.

Item ID: 28294
Item Type: Article (Research - C1)
ISSN: 1469-8137
Keywords: cyanogenesis, extrafloral nectaries, hair, leaf toughness, lipid, plantherbivore interactions, spines, tannin
Funders: Australian Research Council (ARC), Victoria University of Wellington, NZ, University of New South Wales (UNSW), Amazon Conservation Association, Australian Geographic Foundation, Spanish Ministry of Education, Salvador de Madariaga Grant, National Science Foundation (NSF), CONA-CYT, DGAPA-UNAM, Claude Leon Foundation
Projects and Grants: Salvador de Madariaga Grant PR2011-0491
Date Deposited: 17 Jul 2013 05:31
FoR Codes: 06 BIOLOGICAL SCIENCES > 0603 Evolutionary Biology > 060303 Biological Adaptation @ 50%
06 BIOLOGICAL SCIENCES > 0603 Evolutionary Biology > 060302 Biogeography and Phylogeography @ 10%
06 BIOLOGICAL SCIENCES > 0602 Ecology > 060208 Terrestrial Ecology @ 40%
SEO Codes: 97 EXPANDING KNOWLEDGE > 970106 Expanding Knowledge in the Biological Sciences @ 100%
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