Leaf miner and plant galler species richness on Acacia: Relative importance of plant traits and climate

Centre for Behavioural and Physiological Ecology, Zoology, University of New England, Armidale, NSW, 2351, Australia.
Oecologia (Impact Factor: 3.09). 03/2010; 163(2):437-48. DOI: 10.1007/s00442-010-1606-4
Source: PubMed


Diversity patterns of herbivores have been related to climate, host plant traits, host plant distribution and evolutionary relationships individually. However, few studies have assessed the relative contributions of a range of variables to explain these diversity patterns across large geographical and host plant species gradients. Here we assess the relative influence that climate and host plant traits have on endophagous species (leaf miners and plant gallers) diversity across a suite of host species from a genus that is widely distributed and morphologically variable. Forty-six species of Acacia were sampled to encapsulate the diversity of species across four taxonomic sections and a range of habitats along a 950 km climatic gradient: from subtropical forest habitats to semi-arid habitats. Plant traits, climatic variables, leaf miner and plant galler diversity were all quantified on each plant species. In total, 97 leaf mining species and 84 plant galling species were recorded from all host plants. Factors that best explained leaf miner richness across the climatic gradient (using AIC model selection) included specific leaf area (SLA), foliage thickness and mean annual rainfall. The factor that best explained plant galler richness across the climatic gradient was C:N ratio. In terms of the influence of plant and climatic traits on species composition, leaf miner assemblages were best explained by SLA, foliage thickness, mean minimum temperature and mean annual rainfall, whilst plant gall assemblages were explained by C:N ratio, %P, foliage thickness, mean minimum temperature and mean annual rainfall. This work is the first to assess diversity and structure across a broad environmental gradient and a wide range of potential key climatic and plant trait determinants simultaneously. Such methods provide key insights into endophage diversity and provide a solid basis for assessing their responses to a changing climate.

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    • "airly uniform conditions along the Pacific Ocean to more extreme and variable conditions inland ( Rotenberry , 1978 ; Ohmann & Spies , 1998 ) . Indeed , Progar and Schowalter ( 2002 ) , found significant changes in canopy arthropod assemblages asso - ciated with a precipitation gradient in old - growth forest of Washington and Oregon . Similarly , Bairstow et al . ( 2010 ) found that herbivore species richness varied with climate and plant traits in a coastal – inland gradient in eastern Australia . What is less clear is whether coastal - interior gradients interact with latitude to shape patterns of arthropod diversity or herbivore pressure . The goal of this study was to compare the influence of latit"
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    ABSTRACT: A classic pattern in biogeography is the decline in species richness from lower to higher latitudes. Communities, however, can also vary with other geographical patterns, such as the abiotic gradients that occur from coastal to interior habitats.In this study, we surveyed arthropod communities and herbivore pressure on populations of a dominant shrub, Baccharis pilularis, across a 2000 km latitudinal transect to determine whether coastal versus interior location mediates arthropod responses to latitude.We found that arthropod species richness and abundance declined with increasing latitude. We also found significant coastal-interior shifts in community composition and trophic structure. Specifically, predator and scavenger richness were two and three fold greater at coastal sites compared to interior sites, and were three- and six-fold more abundant on the coast than in the interior. Herbivore pressure displayed a similar pattern, with greater abundance at lower latitudes and at coastal sites.Our results corroborate the general macroecological pattern that diversity declines with increasing latitude, and that coastal versus interior location can also shape community assemblages. We did not, however, find any interaction between latitude and location suggesting the effect of latitude on arthropod communities remains consistent inland compared to more constant coastal conditions.
    Insect Conservation and Diversity 08/2014; 8(1). DOI:10.1111/icad.12086 · 2.17 Impact Factor
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    • "For most extant endophytic feeding, it is well known that many insect species make single, distinct DTs on single host species at a site [1], [5], [9], [14], [15]. However, external feeders (leaf-chewers; Figs. "
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    PLoS ONE 05/2014; 9(5):e94950. DOI:10.1371/journal.pone.0094950 · 3.23 Impact Factor
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    • "In the present paper, we have removed major climatic influences on anatomical variation by collecting from the same geographical area within the temperate zone. The species from these temperate sites have recently been used in a study of plant galler and leaf miner species richness (Bairstow et al. 2010). In future work, we will widen our survey to include species from arid, semiarid and subtropical climate zones. "
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