Oecologia

, Volume 79, Issue 1, pp 111–116

Influence of plant phenology on the insect herbivore/bittercress interaction

  • S. K. Collinge
  • S. M. Louda
Original Papers

DOI: 10.1007/BF00378247

Cite this article as:
Collinge, S.K. & Louda, S.M. Oecologia (1989) 79: 111. doi:10.1007/BF00378247

Summary

We tested the hypothesis that generally higher levels of herbivory on bittercress in sun vs in shade, especially by leaf miners, were related to the earlier phenological development of plants in the sun. Naturally-occurring plants in the sun were taller and had longer leaves than did those in the shade during the first three weeks of the growing season, which corresponded with the timing of adult fly oviposition. We divided individual bittercress plants from the sun into three parts: one part was transplanted into willow shade immediately after snow melt; the other two parts were replanted in the sun and one of these was sprayed with insecticide. The transplant experiment had two primary results. First, bittercress transplanted into the shade suffered significantly higher levels of insect damage than either treatment in the sun. Leaf-mining in the shade also increased and equalled that observed in the sun. These results strongly support the phenology hypothesis; higher damage in the sun is due, at least in part, to the earlier development of plants in sun vs in shade early in the season. Second, the ramets with the greatest damage, e.g. the shade treatment, initiated significantly fewer rosettes than did ramets in the other two treatments. The decrease in vegetative reproduction may have been due to the direct effects of increased insect herbivory on these shade plants. This result is particularly interesting because so little information is available on below-ground, vegetative reproductive response to chronic, above-ground foliage loss to native herbs caused by insect herbivores.

Key words

Cardamine cordifolia Cruciferae Herbivory Insect-plant interactions Phenology 

Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 1989

Authors and Affiliations

  • S. K. Collinge
    • 1
    • 2
  • S. M. Louda
    • 1
    • 2
  1. 1.School of Biological SciencesUniversity of NebraskaLincolnUSA
  2. 2.Rocky Mountain Biological LaboratoryGothicUSA
  3. 3.Museum of Comparative ZoologyHarvard UniversityCambridgeUSA

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