Advertisement

Marine Biology

, Volume 151, Issue 6, pp 2177–2181 | Cite as

Do plant density, nutrient availability, and herbivore grazing interact to affect phlorotannin plasticity in the brown seaweed Ascophyllum nodosum

  • Carl Johan Svensson
  • Henrik Pavia
  • Gunilla B. Toth
Research Article

Abstract

Plants have different strategies to cope with herbivory, including induction of chemical defences and compensatory growth. The most favourable strategy for an individual plant may depend on the density at which the plants are growing and on the availability of nutrients, but this has not been tested previously for marine plant–herbivore interactions. We investigated the separate and interactive effects of plant density, nutrient availability, and herbivore grazing on the phlorotannin (polyphenolic) production in the brown seaweed Ascophyllum nodosum. Seaweed plants grown at low or high densities were exposed either to nutrient enrichment, herbivorous littorinid gastropods (Littorina obtusata), or a combination of nutrients and herbivores in an outdoor mesocosm experiment for 2 weeks. Seaweeds grown at a low density tended to have higher tissue nitrogen content compared to plants grown at a high density when exposed to elevated nutrient levels, indicating that there was a density dependent competition for nitrogen. Herbivore grazing induced a higher phlorotannin content in plants grown under ambient, but not enriched, nutrient levels, indicting either that phlorotannin plasticity is more costly when nutrients are abundant or that plants responded to herbivory by compensatory growth. However, there were no significant interactive or main effects of plant density on the seaweed phlorotannin content. The results indicate that plants in both high and low densities induce chemical defence, and that eutrophication may have indirect effects on marine plant–herbivore interactions through alterations of plant chemical defence allocation.

Keywords

Plant Density Compensatory Growth Herbivore Interaction Herbivore Grazing Phlorotannin Content 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.

Notes

Acknowledgments

We are grateful to all staff and students at the Tjärnö Marine Biological Laboratory. Financial support was provided by Wilhelm and Martina Lundgrens Vetenskapsfond, Carl Stenholms donationsfond, and MARICE (Marine Chemical Ecology—an interdisciplinary research platform at the Faculty of Science, Göteborg University, Sweden).

References

  1. Agrawal AA, Karban R (1999) Why induced defenses may be favoured over constitutive strategies in plants. In: Tollrian R, Harvell CD (eds) The ecology and evolution of inducible defenses. Princeton University Press, Princeton, pp 45–61Google Scholar
  2. Amsler CD, Fairhead VA (2006) Defensive and sensory chemical ecology of brown algae. Adv Bot Res 43:1–91Google Scholar
  3. Borell EM, Foggo A, Coleman RA (2004) Induced resistance in intertidal macroalgae modifies feeding behaviour of herbivorous snails. Oecologia 140:328–334CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Cronin G, Hay ME (1996) Induction of seaweed chemical defenses by amphipod grazing. Ecology 77:2287–2301CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Deal MS, Hay ME, Wilson D, Fenical W (2003) Galactolipids rather than phlorotannins as herbivore deterrents in the brown seaweed Fucus vesiculosus. Oecologia 136:107–114CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Edwards PJ, Wratten SD (1987) Ecological significance of wound-induced changes in plant chemistry. In: Labeyrie V, Farbes D, Lachaise D (eds) Insects–plants. Proceedings of 6th international symposium on insect–plant relationships. WH Junk, Dordrecht, pp 213–218Google Scholar
  7. Edwards PJ, Wratten SD, Gibberd RM (1991) The impact of inducible phytochemicals on food selection by insect herbivores and its consequences for the distribution of grazing damage. In: Tallamy DW, Raupp MJ (eds) Phytochemical induction by herbivores. Wiley, New York, pp 205–221Google Scholar
  8. Hanisak MD (1983) The nitrogen relationships of marine macroalgae. In: Carpenter EJ, Capone DG (eds) Nitrogen in the marine environment. Academic, New York, pp 699–730CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Hay ME (1996) Marine chemical ecology: what’s known and what’s next? J Exp Mar Biol Ecol 200:103–134CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Herms DA, Mattson WJ (1992) The dilemma of plants—to grow or defend. Q Rev Biol 67(4):478–478CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. Karban R, Baldwin IT (1997) Induced responses to herbivory. University of Chicago Press, ChicagoCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. Nitao JK, Zangerl AR, Berenbaum MR (2002) CNB: requiescat in pace? Oikos 98:540–546CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. Pavia H, Brock E (2000) Extrinsic factors influencing phlorotannin production in the brown seaweed Ascophyllum nodosum. Mar Ecol Prog Ser 193:285–294CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. Pavia H, Toth GB (2000) Inducible chemical resistance to herbivory in the brown seaweed Ascophyllum nodosum. Ecology 81:3212–3225CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. Pavia H, Toth GB, Lindgren A, Åberg P (2003) Intraspecific variation in the phlorotannin content of the brown alga Ascophyllum nodosum. Phycologia 42:378–383CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. Peckol P, Krane JM, Yates JL (1996) Interactive effects of inducible defence and resource availability on phlorotannins in the North Atlantic brown alga Fucus vesiculosus. Mar Ecol Prog Ser 138:209–217CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. Toth GB, Pavia H (2000) Water-borne cues induce chemical defense in a marine alga (Ascophyllum nodosum). Proc Natl Acad Sci USA 97:14418–14420CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. Toth GB, Langhamer O, Pavia H (2005) Herbivore induced intra-plant variation in food quality affects gastropod fitness. Ecology 86:612–618CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. Toth GB, Karlsson M, Pavia H (2006) Mesoherbivores reduce net growth and induce chemical resistance in natural seaweed populations. Oecologia (in press)Google Scholar
  20. Underwood AJ (1997) Experiments in ecology: their logical design and interpretation using analysis of variance. Cambridge University Press, CambridgeGoogle Scholar
  21. Van Alstyne KL (1995) Comparison of three methods for quantifying brown algal polyphenolic compounds. J Chem Ecol 21:45–58CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. Worm B, Teuch TBH, Lotze HK (2000) In situ nutrient enrichment: methods for marine benthic ecology. Int Rev Hydrobiol 85:359–375CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2007

Authors and Affiliations

  • Carl Johan Svensson
    • 1
  • Henrik Pavia
    • 2
  • Gunilla B. Toth
    • 2
  1. 1.Department of Marine EcologyGöteborg UniversityGöteborgSweden
  2. 2.Department of Marine Ecology, Tjärnö Marine Biological LaboratoryGöteborg UniversityStrömstadSweden

Personalised recommendations