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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    • "). Diverse empirical work suggests that a latitudinal gradient in herbivory does not exist or that the trend is countered (reviewed by Moles et al. 2011) to what would generally be expected by Coley and coauthors (Coley and Aide 1991; Coley and Barone 1996). Biological and physicochemical factors (top-down, bottom-up, and climatic factors) vary with latitude, and this variability may promote latitudinal variation in herbivory (Roininen et al. 2006; Bairstow et al. 2010; Marczak et al. 2011; Andrew et al. 2012). However, how these factors contribute to latitudinal variation in herbivory is poorly understood. "
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    ABSTRACT: To understand how the herbivore community on beech canopies varies between two different latitudes, we assessed leaf traits and herbivory by three major feeding types (chewing, mining, and galling) at different positions in the canopy using a scaffolding system along a 1,400-km latitudinal gradient between Kuromatsunai (north) and Shiiba (south) in Japan. The chemical and morphological traits of the canopy foliage differed significantly between latitudes and between canopy parts. The leaf mass per area (LMA), leaf nitrogen, and carbon/nitrogen (CN) ratio were higher at south latitude than at north latitude. The upper canopy had a greater LMA, leaf nitrogen, and CN ratio than the lower canopy at both latitudes. On the other hand, herbivory by the three major feeding types differed significantly between latitudes and between canopy parts. The miner and galler densities were higher at south latitude than at north latitude, while the chewing herbivory was lower, showing different latitudinal patterns among feeding types. Among these feeding types, only chewing herbivory was higher in the lower canopy than in the upper canopy at both latitudes. The stepwise regression models showed that LMA and CN ratio explained spatial variation in chewing herbivory. Our study demonstrates that the latitudinal and spatial variations in leaf traits can play an important role in determining the latitudinal and spatial variations in the herbivore community on beech canopies via different responses of each feeding type.
    Full-text · Article · Dec 2014 · Arthropod-Plant Interactions
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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.
    Full-text · Article · Aug 2014 · Insect Conservation and Diversity
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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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    ABSTRACT: The fossil record demonstrates that past climate changes and extinctions significantly affected the diversity of insect leaf-feeding damage, implying that the richness of damage types reflects that of the unsampled damage makers, and that the two are correlated through time. However, this relationship has not been quantified for living leaf-chewing insects, whose richness and mouthpart convergence have obscured their value for understanding past and present herbivore diversity. We hypothesized that the correlation of leaf-chewing damage types (DTs) and damage maker richness is directly observable in living forests. Using canopy access cranes at two lowland tropical rainforest sites in Panamá to survey 24 host-plant species, we found significant correlations between the numbers of leaf chewing insect species collected and the numbers of DTs observed to be made by the same species in feeding experiments, strongly supporting our hypothesis. Damage type richness was largely driven by insect species that make multiple DTs. Also, the rank-order abundances of DTs recorded at the Panamá sites and across a set of latest Cretaceous to middle Eocene fossil floras were highly correlated, indicating remarkable consistency of feeding-mode distributions through time. Most fossil and modern host-plant pairs displayed high similarity indices for their leaf-chewing DTs, but informative differences and trends in fossil damage composition became apparent when endophytic damage was included. Our results greatly expand the potential of insect-mediated leaf damage for interpreting insect herbivore richness and compositional heterogeneity from fossil floras and, equally promisingly, in living forests.
    Full-text · Article · May 2014 · PLoS ONE
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