Project

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A phylogenetic study on altitudinal gradients of plant defenses against herbivores: testing classic hypotheses with contemporary methods

Applicant Rasmann Sergio
Number 131956
Funding scheme Ambizione
Research institution Département d'Ecologie et d'Evolution Faculté de Biologie et de Médecine Université de Lausanne
Institution of higher education University of Lausanne - LA
Main discipline Ecology
Start/End 01.03.2011 - 31.08.2013
Approved amount 565'514.00
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All Disciplines (3)

Discipline
Ecology
Botany
Zoology

Keywords (8)

ecology; evolution of plant defenses; plant-herbivore interaction; alpine climat; chemical ecology; metabolomics; phylogenetic indipendent contrast; reciprocal transplant

Lay Summary (English)

Lead
Lay summary
Plants and their herbivores constitute more than half of the organisms on earth. Therefore a better understanding of how they relate to each others is central for our understanding of biodiversity and species interaction.

Here I propose to study the evolution of anti-herbivore defense (i.e. chemical defenses, and physical defenses such as leaf toughness or trichomes) 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 organisms (from plants to predators of the herbivores), and predict how the future global change might influence not only each species individually, but the whole community.
Direct link to Lay Summary Last update: 21.02.2013

Responsible applicant and co-applicants

Employees

Publications

Publication
Arbuscular mycorrhizal fungi alter above- and below-ground chemical defense expression differentially among Asclepias species
Vannette RL, Hunter MD, Rasmann S (2013), Arbuscular mycorrhizal fungi alter above- and below-ground chemical defense expression differentially among Asclepias species, in Frontiers in Plant Science, 1.
Climate-driven change in plant-insect interactions along elevation gradients
Rasmann Sergio, Pellissier Loïc, Defossez Emmanuel, Jactel Hervé, Kunstler Georges (2013), Climate-driven change in plant-insect interactions along elevation gradients, in Functional Ecology, 1.
Cold Temperatures Increase Cold Hardiness in the Next Generation Ophraella communa Beetles
Zhou Zhongshi, Rasmann Sergio, Li Min, Guo JianYing, Chen HongSong, Wan Fanghao (2013), Cold Temperatures Increase Cold Hardiness in the Next Generation Ophraella communa Beetles, in PLoS ONE, 8(9), 1.
Identity and combinations of arbuscular mycorrhizal fungal isolates influence plant resistance and insect preference
Roger Aurelien, Getaz Michael, Rasmann Sergio, Sanders Ian R. (2013), Identity and combinations of arbuscular mycorrhizal fungal isolates influence plant resistance and insect preference, in ECOLOGICAL ENTOMOLOGY, 38(4), 330-338.
Turnover of plant lineages shapes herbivore phylogenetic beta diversity along ecological gradients
Pellissier Loic, Ndiribe Charlotte, Dubuis Anne, Pradervand Jean-Nicolas, Salamin Nicolas, Guisan Antoine, Rasmann Sergio (2013), Turnover of plant lineages shapes herbivore phylogenetic beta diversity along ecological gradients, in ECOLOGY LETTERS, 16(5), 600-608.
Arbuscular mycorrhizal fungi mediate below-ground plant-herbivore interactions: a phylogenetic study
Vannette Rachel L., Rasmann Sergio (2012), Arbuscular mycorrhizal fungi mediate below-ground plant-herbivore interactions: a phylogenetic study, in FUNCTIONAL ECOLOGY, 26(5), 1033-1042.
Cardenolides in nectar may be more than a consequence of allocation to other plant parts: a phylogenetic study of Asclepias
Manson Jessamyn S., Rasmann Sergio, Halitschke Rayko, Thomson James D., Agrawal Anurag A. (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.
Ecology and Evolution of Soil Nematode Chemotaxis
Rasmann Sergio, Ali Jared Gregory, Helder Johannes, van der Putten Wim H. (2012), Ecology and Evolution of Soil Nematode Chemotaxis, in JOURNAL OF CHEMICAL ECOLOGY, 38(6), 615-628.
Herbivory in the Previous Generation Primes Plants for Enhanced Insect Resistance
Rasmann Sergio, De Vos Martin, Casteel Clare L., Tian Donglan, Halitschke Rayko, Sun Joel Y., Agrawal Anurag A., Felton Gary W., Jander Georg (2012), Herbivory in the Previous Generation Primes Plants for Enhanced Insect Resistance, in PLANT PHYSIOLOGY, 158(2), 854-863.
High host-plant nitrogen content: a prerequisite for the evolution of ant-caterpillar mutualism?
Pellissier L., Rasmann S., Litsios G., Fiedler K., Dubuis A., Pottier J., Guisan A. (2012), High host-plant nitrogen content: a prerequisite for the evolution of ant-caterpillar mutualism?, in JOURNAL OF EVOLUTIONARY BIOLOGY, 25(8), 1658-1666.
Shifts in species richness, herbivore specialization, and plant resistance along elevation gradients
Pellissier Loic, Fiedler Konrad, Ndribe Charlotte, Dubuis Anne, Pradervand Jean-Nicolas, Guisan Antoine, Rasmann Sergio (2012), Shifts in species richness, herbivore specialization, and plant resistance along elevation gradients, in ECOLOGY AND EVOLUTION, 2(8), 1818-1825.
The importance of root-produced volatiles as foraging cues for entomopathogenic nematodes
Turlings Ted C. J., Hiltpold Ivan, Rasmann Sergio (2012), The importance of root-produced volatiles as foraging cues for entomopathogenic nematodes, in PLANT AND SOIL, 358(1-2), 47-56.
The Role of Root-Produced Volatile Secondary Metabolites in Mediating Soil Interactions
Rasmann Sergio, Hiltpold Ivan, Ali Jared (2012), The Role of Root-Produced Volatile Secondary Metabolites in Mediating Soil Interactions, in Dichio Bartolomeo , Montanaro Giuseppe (ed.), InTech, Croatia, 269.
Toxic cardenolides: chemical ecology and coevolution of specialized plant-herbivore interactions
Agrawal Anurag A., Petschenka Georg, Bingham Robin A., Weber Marjorie G., Rasmann Sergio (2012), Toxic cardenolides: chemical ecology and coevolution of specialized plant-herbivore interactions, in NEW PHYTOLOGIST, 194(1), 28-45.
Evolution of Specialization: A Phylogenetic Study of Host Range in the Red Milkweed Beetle (Tetraopes tetraophthalmus)
Rasmann Sergio, Agrawal Anurag A. (2011), Evolution of Specialization: A Phylogenetic Study of Host Range in the Red Milkweed Beetle (Tetraopes tetraophthalmus), in AMERICAN NATURALIST, 177(6), 728-737.
Latitudinal patterns in plant defense: evolution of cardenolides, their toxicity and induction following herbivory
Rasmann Sergio, Agrawal Anurag A. (2011), Latitudinal patterns in plant defense: evolution of cardenolides, their toxicity and induction following herbivory, in ECOLOGY LETTERS, 14(5), 476-483.
The latitudinal herbivory-defence hypothesis takes a detour on the map
Johnson Marc T. J., Rasmann Sergio (2011), The latitudinal herbivory-defence hypothesis takes a detour on the map, in NEW PHYTOLOGIST, 191(3), 589-592.
The latitudinal herbivory-defence hypothesis takes a detour on the map.
Johnson Marc T J, Rasmann Sergio (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
Rasmann Sergio, De Vos Martin, Jander Georg, Ecological role of transgenerational resistance against biotic threats, in Plant Signaling and Behavior, 7(4).
Fertilization with beneficial microorganisms decreases tomato defenses against insect pests
Megali L, Glauser G, Rasmann S, Fertilization with beneficial microorganisms decreases tomato defenses against insect pests, in Agronomy for Sustainable Development, 1.
he altitudinal niche breadth hypothesis
Alvarez N, Pellissier L, Rasmann S, he altitudinal niche breadth hypothesis, in Jander G (ed.), Wiley, New York, 1.

Collaboration

Group / person Country
Types of collaboration
Cornell University United States of America (North America)
- Publication
Université de Neuchâtel Switzerland (Europe)
- in-depth/constructive exchanges on approaches, methods or results
- Publication
University of Lausanne Switzerland (Europe)
- in-depth/constructive exchanges on approaches, methods or results
- Publication
- Research Infrastructure
- Exchange of personnel
Netherland Institute for Ecology Netherlands (Europe)
- in-depth/constructive exchanges on approaches, methods or results
- Publication
Radbout University Netherlands (Europe)
- in-depth/constructive exchanges on approaches, methods or results
- Publication
- Exchange of personnel

Scientific events

Active participation

Title Type of contribution Title of article or contribution Date Place Persons involved
Invited seminar Individual talk Ecological and evolutionary drivers of plant defenses 01.03.2013 UC Davis, United States of America Rasmann Sergio;
Gordon research conference Talk given at a conference Plant defense theories reloaded 01.02.2013 Ventura Beach, United States of America Rasmann Sergio;
CRC 973 Symposium Talk given at a conference Transgenerational induced resistance agaist herbivore attack 24.11.2012 Berlin, Germany Rasmann Sergio;
Conference Plant-Herbivore-Microbe interaction Talk given at a conference Plant-Herbivore-Microbe interaction 01.11.2012 baeza, Spain Rasmann Sergio;
IOBC/WPRS Pheromones and other Semiochemichemical conference Talk given at a conference Ecology and Evolution of nematode chemotaxis 01.10.2012 Bursa, Turkey Rasmann Sergio;
Society of Experimental Biology meeting Talk given at a conference Ecology and Evolution of plant defenses 19.07.2012 Salzburg, Austria Rasmann Sergio;
Symposium on Insect-Plant Interactions (SIP) Poster Latitudinal gradients in plant defenses against herbivores 13.08.2011 Wageningen, the Netherlands, Netherlands Rasmann Sergio;


Associated projects

Number Title Start Funding scheme
121483 Manipulation of plant defenses by belowground herbivory 01.09.2008 Fellowships for advanced researchers
159869 Attracting bodyguards: testing macro-evolutionary trends of belowground plant indirect defenses and effects on plant fitness. 01.05.2015 Project funding (Div. I-III)

Abstract

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.
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