Ecological Research

, Volume 28, Issue 4, pp 663–672

Geographic association and temporal variation of chemical and physical defense and leaf damage in Datura stramonium

Authors

  • Guillermo Castillo
    • Laboratorio de Genética Ecológica y Evolución, Instituto de EcologíaUniversidad Nacional Autónoma de México
  • Laura L. Cruz
    • Laboratorio de Genética Ecológica y Evolución, Instituto de EcologíaUniversidad Nacional Autónoma de México
  • Johnattan Hernández-Cumplido
    • Laboratory of Evolutionary Entomology, Institute of BiologyUniversity of Neuchâtel (UNINE)
  • Ken Oyama
    • Centro de Investigaciones en EcosistemasUniversidad Nacional Autónoma de México (UNAM)
  • César Mateo Flores-Ortiz
    • Laboratorio de Fisiología Vegetal, UBIPROUniversidad Nacional Autónoma de México Facultad de Estudios Superiores Iztacala
  • Juan Fornoni
    • Laboratorio de Genética Ecológica y Evolución, Instituto de EcologíaUniversidad Nacional Autónoma de México
  • Pedro L. Valverde
    • Departamento de BiologíaUniversidad Autónoma Metropolitana-Iztapalapa
    • Laboratorio de Genética Ecológica y Evolución, Instituto de EcologíaUniversidad Nacional Autónoma de México
Original Article

DOI: 10.1007/s11284-013-1059-4

Cite this article as:
Castillo, G., Cruz, L.L., Hernández-Cumplido, J. et al. Ecol Res (2013) 28: 663. doi:10.1007/s11284-013-1059-4

Abstract

The evolution of plant defense traits has traditionally been explained trough the “coevolutionary arms race” between plants and herbivores. According to this, specialist herbivores have evolved to cope effectively with the defensive traits of their host plants and may even use them as a cue for host location. We analyzed the geographic association between leaf trichomes, two tropane alkaloids (putative resistance traits), and leaf damage by herbivores in 28 populations of Datura stramonium in central Mexico. Since the specialist leaf beetles Epitrix parvula and Lema trilineata are the main herbivores of D. stramonium in central Mexico, we predicted a positive association between plant defense and leaf damage across populations. Also, if physical environmental conditions (temperature or precipitation) constrain the expression of plant defense, then the geographic variation in leaf damage should be explained partially by the interaction between defensive traits and environmental factors. Furthermore, we studied the temporal and spatial variation in leaf trichome density and leaf damage in five selected populations of D. stramonium sampled in two periods (1997 vs. 2007). We found a positive association between leaf trichomes density and atropine concentration with leaf damage across populations. The interaction between defensive traits and water availability in each locality had a significant effect on the geographic variation in leaf damage. Differences among populations in leaf trichome density are maintained over time. Our results indicate that local plant–herbivore interaction plays an important role in shaping the geographic and temporal variation in plant defense in D. stramonium.

Keywords

Datura stramonium Geographic variation Herbivory Tropane alkaloids Leaf trichomes Plant defense Solanaceae

Supplementary material

11284_2013_1059_MOESM1_ESM.doc (60 kb)
Supplementary material 1 (DOC 59 kb)
11284_2013_1059_MOESM2_ESM.tif (452 kb)
S 2. Interaction surfaces between predictor variables resulting from the multiple regression model. a Leaf atropine concentration (in 2.5 mm2) × Lang’s Index (mg/g), and b Leaf scopolamine concentration × mean population plant size. Response variable was the proportion leaf damage. (TIFF 452 kb)
11284_2013_1059_MOESM3_ESM.doc (34 kb)
Supplementary material 3 (DOC 34 kb)

Copyright information

© The Ecological Society of Japan 2013