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Do plant-mediated indirect interactions among herbivores affect parasitoid performance and genetic population structure?

English title Do plant-mediated indirect interactions among herbivores affect parasitoid performance and genetic population structure?
Applicant Benrey Betty
Number 127364
Funding scheme Project funding (Div. I-III)
Research institution Institut de Zoologie Faculté des Sciences Université de Neuchâtel
Institution of higher education University of Neuchatel - NE
Main discipline Ecology
Start/End 01.10.2009 - 30.09.2014
Approved amount 288'000.00
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All Disciplines (2)

Discipline
Ecology
Agricultural and Forestry Sciences

Keywords (10)

multitrophic interactions; induced plant defense; indirect plant-mediated effects; local adaptation; parasitoids; plant chemicals; plant-insect interactions; natural enemies; beans; insect ecology

Lay Summary (English)

Lead
Lay summary
A major challenge for ecologists is to understand the ecological and evolutionary mechanisms that create differences between and within species in naturally complex environments. Individuals of different species interact in local communities and can influence each other both directly, or indirectly through intermediaries. This is particularly true for the interactions among plants, insect herbivores that feed on these plants and the natural enemies of these herbivores (predators and parasitoids). Plant characteristics, such as chemical compounds not only strongly affect the performance of the herbivores, but also the performance of the natural enemies that feed on these herbivores. Furthermore, by feeding on a plant, an insect can induce the production of chemical defenses that will affect the performance of other herbivore species that feed on the same plant and of the natural enemies of these herbivores. We are testing these ideas using a natural system that comprises several species of bean plants (wild and cultivated), seed beetles that feed on the beans, and the parasitoids that develop on the larvae of these beetles. Using a highly multidisciplinary approach comprising of manipulative laboratory and field studies, this project should provide us insight into how direct and indirect interactions between insects species in natural communities affect the evolution of complex communities.In addition to this fundamental importance the study has potential for application in the development of pest control strategies. Beans are an important staple food and seed beetles can be devastating pest insects, not only on beans, but on many other cultivated grains, especially in storage situations. Adding to the knowledge of how different members of a natural community interact might help in the development of methods to better protect the beans and grains against insect pests.
Direct link to Lay Summary Last update: 21.02.2013

Responsible applicant and co-applicants

Employees

Publications

Publication
Comparative phylogeography of a multitrophic system reveals the importance of plant domestication and the infection by Wolbachia in shaping the genetic structure of two bruchid parasitoid species asso
Laurin-Lemay Simon. Angers Bernard Benrey Betty and Brodeur Jacques, Comparative phylogeography of a multitrophic system reveals the importance of plant domestication and the infection by Wolbachia in shaping the genetic structure of two bruchid parasitoid species asso, in Bulletin of Entomological Research.

Collaboration

Group / person Country
Types of collaboration
Heil Martin Mexico (North America)
- in-depth/constructive exchanges on approaches, methods or results
- Publication

Scientific events

Active participation

Title Type of contribution Title of article or contribution Date Place Persons involved
Annual Meeting of the Entomological Society of America Talk given at a conference Herbivore induction of cyanogenic glycosides in different plant structures of wild lima bean 16.11.2014 Portland, Oregon, United States of America Hernandez-Cumplido Johnatan;
15th International Symposium on Insect-Plant Relationships Poster Effects of early leaf and pre-dispersal seed herbivory on the performance of the bruchid Zabrotes subfasciatus and its parasitoid Stenocorse bruchivora 22.08.2014 Neuchatel, Switzerland Hernandez-Cumplido Johnatan;
15th International Symposium on Insect-Plant Relationships Talk given at a conference How should we domesticate crops to enhance pest control? 22.08.2014 Neuchatel, Switzerland Benrey Betty;
Annual Meeting Entomological Society of America Talk given at a conference Host-plant mediated interactions in a domesticated system: The case of beans, bruchids and parasitoids in Mexico 16.11.2012 Knoxville, Tennessee, United States of America Benrey Betty;
International Congress of Entomology Talk given at a conference Do plant-mediated indirect interactions among herbivores affect parasitoid performance and genetic population structure 19.08.2012 Daegu, Korean Republic (South Korea) Benrey Betty;
Symposium Insect-Plant Interactions Talk given at a conference The effects of floral and extrafloral nectar secretion in Lima bean on the interaction between pollinators and defending ants 22.07.2012 Wageningen, The Netherlands, Netherlands Hernandez-Cumplido Johnatan; Benrey Betty;
Workshop on Multitrophic Interactions Talk given at a conference Variation in cyanogenic compounds in seeds of wild lima bean and population genetic structure of Bruchid beetles in Mexico. 22.03.2012 Goettingen, Germany Benrey Betty;
Annual meeting Entomological Society of America Talk given at a conference Evolution of tritrophic interactions on wild and cultivated beans in Mexico" Bean domestication and incongruent genetic structure in a tritrophic system 12.11.2011 Reno, Nevada, USA, United States of America Benrey Betty;
Entomological Society of America Annual Meeting Talk given at a conference Trade-offs between indirect defense and pollination in wild populations of lima bean 12.11.2011 Reno, Nevada, United States of America Benrey Betty;
Annual Meeting of the International Society of Chemical Ecology Poster Attraction of flower visitors to plants that express indirect defence can minimize ecological costs of ant–pollinator conflicts 31.07.2010 Tours, France, France Hernandez-Cumplido Johnatan;


Self-organised

Title Date Place
Annual Biology Meeting (Zoological, Botanical and Systematic Societies) 12.02.2010 Université de Neuchatel, Switzerland

Associated projects

Number Title Start Funding scheme
162860 Agricultural practices and the cascading effects of apparent competition: A case study of trophic interactions on cultivated maize and wild lima bean plants. 01.10.2016 Project funding (Div. I-III)
109239 The respective roles of hosts and plants in mediating genetic differentiation among bruchid parasitoids 01.01.2006 Project funding (Div. I-III)

Abstract

A major challenge for ecologists is to understand the ecological and evolutionary mechanisms that create differences between and within species in naturally complex environments. Individuals of different species interact in local communities and can influence each other’s fitness both directly, or indirectly through intermediaries. This is particularly true for the interactions among plants, insect herbivores and the natural enemies of these herbivores. Plant traits, such a chemical defenses not only strongly affect the performance of the herbivores, but also the performance of the natural enemies that feed on these herbivores. There is an increasing awareness that chemical defenses are inducible and that herbivory by one insect induces changes in a plant that affect the performance of other herbivore species that feed on the same plant. Because insect communities that feed on a particular plant species can vary considerably among different localities there will also be considerable variability in the induced plant responses that sequential herbivores are exposed to. I hypothesize that within each specific community herbivores and their natural enemies will have adapted to the plant defenses induced by earlier herbivores. As yet, interspecies effects mediated by plant defense responses have rarely taken in account the third trophic level and have not yet been studied in the context of genetic population structure. We have been studying a tritrophic system comprising several species of bean plants (wild and cultivated), bruchid beetles that feed on the beans, and the parasitoids that develop on the larvae of these beetles. We have tested the hypothesis that the host plants affect the performance, behavior and genetic structure of bruchids and parasitoids and the plants mediate the interaction between these two upper trophic levels. The results from our previous research provide mixed support for this hypothesis, mostly due to great differences across populations. These findings and the accumulating evidence for indirect interactions among sequential herbivores have led to the notion that variation in the occurrence and abundance of other herbivore species in this natural system may dictate the strength and nature of the interaction between bean plants, bruchids and their parasitoids. The proposed project will test this novel hypothesis.Two dominating herbivores that attack bean plants before the bruchids are of particular interest, the leaf beetle Epilachna varivestis and the weevil Apion godmani. The co-occurrence of these herbivores with each other and the bruchids varies considerable among populations. Therefore the system lends itself exceedingly well for studies into the plant-mediated effects among sequential herbivores. We will test the above hypothesis by determining the extent to which damage on bean leaves and seeds by the leaf beetle and/or the weevil affects the performance and behavior of the bruchid. More importantly, we will study how such effects may cascade upwards to the next trophic level. We also predict that as a result of differences in the intensity of these cascading factors in different geographic locations, we will find populations of bruchids and parasitoids that are genetically differentiated from each other, and are adapted to their local communities.Using a highly multidisciplinary approach comprising manipulative laboratory and field studies, performance and behavioral assays, as well as chemical and molecular analyses, this project should provide us insight into how direct and indirect interactions between and within different trophic levels affect the evolution of complex communities.
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