, Volume 33, Issue 1, pp 95-103
Date: 17 Nov 2006

Interactive Effects of Leaf Damage, Light Intensity and Support Availability on Chemical Defenses and Morphology of a Twining Vine

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In a greenhouse study, we evaluated the effect of the light environment and support availability on the induction of tropane alkaloids (TAs) after leaf damage in the twining vine Convolvulus arvensis. We also tested whether leaf damage modifies the phenotypic responses of the plant to shade and physical support. We found a consistent pattern of induction of TAs after leaf damage in each environmental condition. The induction of TAs was differentially affected by combinations of support and light treatments. In the sun, prostrate and climbing vines exhibited similar induced responses. In the shade, prostrate vines showed greater induced responses. Thus, vines showed the greatest chemical induction when damage occurred in a resource-poor environment (shade), and there was no cue (support) of future increase in resource uptake. Damaged plants showed reduced plasticity to shading in leaf shape and internodes and petiole length in comparison with control, undamaged plants. Herbivory and/or induced responses to herbivory may limit adaptive plant responses to the environment. Therefore, the negative consequences of herbivory on plant fitness might be magnified in a context of changing environments.