Plant Animal Interactions Original Paper


, Volume 105, Issue 3, pp 388-396

First online:

Genetic and soil-nutrient effects on the abundance of herbivores on willow

  • Colin M. OriansAffiliated withDepartment of Biology, Tufts University
  • , Robert S. FritzAffiliated withDepartment of Biology, Vassar College

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The effects of soil-nutrient environment, plant genotype, and the interaction between the two on the resistance of the willow, Salix sericea, to insect species in a diverse herbivore community was measured. We found that soil-nutrient environment influenced plant growth and the abundance of most herbivores of S. sericea. However, environmental effects on herbivore abundance were often modified by plant genetics; the abundance of four of seven herbivores exhibited significant genotypeby-environment interaction effects. Pure genotype effects were mostly small and non-significant. The effects of fertilization differed among herbivores. Several herbivores were more abundant on fertilized plants, one was less abundant, and the abundance of others did not change. We found that feeding guild was a poor predictor of herbivore response. Finally we found significant phenotypic and genetic correlations among growth rate, internode length, and the abundances of several herbivores.

Key words

Salix Herbivores Soil nutrients Genotype-by-environment interactions Host plant resistance