ecology; evolution of plant defenses; plant-herbivore interaction; alpine climat; chemical ecology; metabolomics; phylogenetic indipendent contrast; reciprocal transplant
(2013), Arbuscular mycorrhizal fungi alter above- and below-ground chemical defense expression differentially among Asclepias species, in Frontiers in Plant Science
(2013), Climate-driven change in plant-insect interactions along elevation gradients, in Functional Ecology
(2013), Cold Temperatures Increase Cold Hardiness in the Next Generation Ophraella communa Beetles, in PLoS ONE
, 8(9), 1.
(2013), Identity and combinations of arbuscular mycorrhizal fungal isolates influence plant resistance and insect preference, in ECOLOGICAL ENTOMOLOGY
, 38(4), 330-338.
(2013), Turnover of plant lineages shapes herbivore phylogenetic beta diversity along ecological gradients, in ECOLOGY LETTERS
, 16(5), 600-608.
(2012), Arbuscular mycorrhizal fungi mediate below-ground plant-herbivore interactions: a phylogenetic study, in FUNCTIONAL ECOLOGY
, 26(5), 1033-1042.
(2012), Cardenolides in nectar may be more than a consequence of allocation to other plant parts: a phylogenetic study of Asclepias, in FUNCTIONAL ECOLOGY
, 26(5), 1100-1110.
(2012), Ecology and Evolution of Soil Nematode Chemotaxis, in JOURNAL OF CHEMICAL ECOLOGY
, 38(6), 615-628.
(2012), Herbivory in the Previous Generation Primes Plants for Enhanced Insect Resistance, in PLANT PHYSIOLOGY
, 158(2), 854-863.
(2012), High host-plant nitrogen content: a prerequisite for the evolution of ant-caterpillar mutualism?, in JOURNAL OF EVOLUTIONARY BIOLOGY
, 25(8), 1658-1666.
(2012), Shifts in species richness, herbivore specialization, and plant resistance along elevation gradients, in ECOLOGY AND EVOLUTION
, 2(8), 1818-1825.
(2012), The importance of root-produced volatiles as foraging cues for entomopathogenic nematodes, in PLANT AND SOIL
, 358(1-2), 47-56.
(2012), The Role of Root-Produced Volatile Secondary Metabolites in Mediating Soil Interactions, 269.
(2012), Toxic cardenolides: chemical ecology and coevolution of specialized plant-herbivore interactions, in NEW PHYTOLOGIST
, 194(1), 28-45.
(2011), Evolution of Specialization: A Phylogenetic Study of Host Range in the Red Milkweed Beetle (Tetraopes tetraophthalmus), in AMERICAN NATURALIST
, 177(6), 728-737.
(2011), Latitudinal patterns in plant defense: evolution of cardenolides, their toxicity and induction following herbivory, in ECOLOGY LETTERS
, 14(5), 476-483.
(2011), The latitudinal herbivory-defence hypothesis takes a detour on the map, in NEW PHYTOLOGIST
, 191(3), 589-592.
(2011), The latitudinal herbivory-defence hypothesis takes a detour on the map., in The New phytologist
, 191(3), 589-92.
, Ecological role of transgenerational resistance against biotic threats, in Plant Signaling and Behavior
, Fertilization with beneficial microorganisms decreases tomato defenses against insect pests, in Agronomy for Sustainable Development
, he altitudinal niche breadth hypothesis, 1.
Plants and their herbivores constitute more than half of the organisms on earth. Therefore a better understanding of the evolution of plant defenses against their herbivores may be central for our understanding of biodiversity and species interaction. Over the last half century, complementary theories and hypotheses have been developed to try to explain the extraordinary variation in plant defensive strategies, and, thanks to interdisciplinary interaction between ecologist, behaviorists, physiologist, and chemists, it has given rise to the body of work, collectively known as “plant defense theory”. Nowadays, advances in community phylogenetic and metabolomic analysis are the key components for refining plant defense theories at a novel frontier. Because until recently, only foliage defense was considered and because species evolutionary history was not fully taken in account, I aim to use powerful and detailed analyses to test plant defense theories taking the whole plant approach in a phylogenetic context. Here I propose to study the evolution of anti-herbivore defense and their possible contribution to coexistence in three genera with species that have colonized the entire altitudinal cline of the Swiss Alps. Over the course of three years, I firstly aim to uncover altitudinal gradients of whole plant defenses and herbivory. Then I expect to answer the questions of what are the suites of defensive traits promoting habitat specialization. I will subsequently test how plant functional traits and herbivores interact to maintain habitat specialization (altitudinal levels) and coexistence between closely related species. Finally, I will focus on how habitat specialization (altitudinal levels) and herbivory shape the connection between aboveground and belowground plant defenses.One of the keys to the success of such a project is the combination of different approaches. Plant defensive traits will be analyzed through high throughput chromatography, mass spectrometry and various other chemical analytical techniques. I will then include field experiments where plants and herbivores will be factorially manipulated to specifically quantify the relative contribution of biotic (herbivory) and abiotic (e.g. soil nutrients, temperature) to habitat specialization. Also, I will use genomic information to create phylogenetic trees of the studied species, in order to address questions on the macroevolution of defensive traits along the altitudinal cline. All these results will enhance our knowledge of the ecological and evolutionary processes that occur among different trophic levels, and predict how the future global change might influence not only each species individually, but the various interactions as a whole.