, Volume 7, Issue 1, pp 45–56 | Cite as

Population-level variation in plant secondary chemistry, and the population biology of herbivores

  • Mark D. Hunter
  • Stephen B. Malcolm
  • Susan E. Hartley


Modern population ecology is becoming increasingly spatially-explicit. For insect hervibores, spatial variation in plant quality is a critical component of distribution and abundance. We argue that populationlevel measurements of phytochemical variation among individual plants has not kept pace with recent developments in population ecology. With examples from our own work, we demonstrate the importance of spatial variation in plant chemistry for insect herbivores, and suggest that phytochemistry should play a central role in the development of any spatially-based ecological theory.

Key words

plant defense plant chemistry insect herbivore metapopulation dynamics spatial models spatial heterogeneity plant-insect interactions 


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Copyright information

© Birkhäuser Verlag 1996

Authors and Affiliations

  • Mark D. Hunter
    • 1
  • Stephen B. Malcolm
    • 2
  • Susan E. Hartley
    • 3
  1. 1.Institute of EcologyUniversity of GeorgiaAthensUSA
  2. 2.Department of Biological SciencesWestern Michigan UniversityKalamazooUSA
  3. 3.Institute of Terrestrial EcologyBanchory Research StationUnited Kingdom

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