, Volume 158, Issue 1, pp 65–75 | Cite as

Disparate effects of plant genotypic diversity on foliage and litter arthropod communities

  • Gregory M. Crutsinger
  • W. Nicholas Reynolds
  • Aimée T. Classen
  • Nathan J. Sanders
Plant-Animal Interactions - Original Paper


Intraspecific diversity can influence the structure of associated communities, though whether litter-based and foliage-based arthropod communities respond to intraspecific diversity in similar ways remains unclear. In this study, we compared the effects of host-plant genotype and genotypic diversity of the perennial plant, Solidago altissima, on the arthropod community associated with living plant tissue (foliage-based community) and microarthropods associated with leaf litter (litter-based community). We found that variation among host-plant genotypes had strong effects on the diversity and composition of foliage-based arthropods, but only weak effects on litter-based microarthropods. Furthermore, host-plant genotypic diversity was positively related to the abundance and diversity of foliage-based arthropods, and within the herbivore and predator trophic levels. In contrast, there were minimal effects of plant genotypic diversity on litter-based microarthropods in any trophic level. Our study illustrates that incorporating communities associated with living foliage and senesced litter into studies of community genetics can lead to very different conclusions about the importance of intraspecific diversity than when only foliage-based community responses are considered in isolation.


Community genetics Herbivores Leaf litter Microarthropods Solidago altissima 



We thank K. Crawford, M. Genung, M. Habenicht, J. Ledford, and L. Zachmann for help with field and laboratory work. E. Bernard assisted with microarthropod identification. P. Kardol and T. Sackett provided helpful comments on the manuscript. G. M. C. was supported by an EPA STAR, NSF Graduate Research Fellowship, and funds from the Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology at the University of Tennessee. The Laboratory Directed Research and Development Program of Oak Ridge National Laboratory, managed by UT-Battelle, LLC, for the US Department of Energy under contract no. DE-AC05-00OR22725 and the Office of Science (Biological and Environmental Research), US Department of Energy, grant no. DE-FG02-02ER63366 supported A. T. C. and some of the work on this project.

Supplementary material

442_2008_1130_MOESM1_ESM.doc (363 kb)
Supplementary material (DOC 242 kb)


  1. Abrahamson WG, Weis AE (1997) Evolutionary ecology across three trophic levels. Princeton University Press, PrincetonGoogle Scholar
  2. Armbrecht I, Perfecto I, Vandermeer J (2004) Enigmatic biodiversity correlations: ant diversity responds to diverse resources. Science 304:284–286PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Bernays EA (1998) The value of being a resource specialist: behavioral support for a neural hypothesis. Am Nat 151:451–464PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Bernays EA, Chapman RF (1994) Host-plant selection by phytophagous insects. Chapman & Hall, New YorkGoogle Scholar
  5. Bray JR, Curtis JT (1957) An ordination of the upland forest communities of southern Wisconsin. Ecol Monogr 27:326–349CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Chao A (1984) Non-parametric estimation of the number of classes in a population. Scand J Stat 11:265–270Google Scholar
  7. Clarke KR, Gorley RN (2001) Primer v5: user manual/tutorial. Primer-E, PlymouthGoogle Scholar
  8. Crutsinger GM, Collins MD, Fordyce JA, Gompert Z, Nice CC, Sanders NJ (2006) Plant genotypic diversity predicts community structure and governs an ecosystem process. Science 313:966–968PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Crutsinger GM, Collins MD, Fordyce JA, Sanders NJ (2008) Temporal dynamics in non-additive responses of arthropods to host-plant genotypic diversity. Oikos 117:255–264CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Cyr H, Pace ML (1993) Magnitude and patterns of herbivory in aquatic and terrestrial Ecosystems. Nature 361:148–150CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. De Deyn GB, Van der Putten WH (2005) Linking aboveground and belowground diversity. Trends Ecol Evol 20:625–633PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. Dungey HS, Potts BM, Whitham TG, Li HF (2000) Plant genetics affects arthropod community richness and composition: evidence from a synthetic eucalypt hybrid population. Evolution 54:1938–1946PubMedGoogle Scholar
  13. Ellison AM, Bank MS, Clinton BD, Colburn EA, Elliott K, Ford CR, Foster DR, Kloeppel BD, Knoepp JD, Lovett GM, Mohan J, Orwig DA, Rodenhouse NL, Sobczak WV, Stinson KA, Stone JK, Swan CM, Thompson J, von Holle B, Webster JR (2005) Loss of foundation species: consequences for the structure and dynamics of forested ecosystems. Frontiers Ecol Environ 3:479–486Google Scholar
  14. Fontes EMG, Habeck DH, Slansky F Jr (1994) Phytophagous insects associated with goldenrods (Solidago spp.) in Gainesville, Florida. Fla Entomol 77:209–221CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. Gonzalez G, Seastedt TR (2001) Soil fauna and plant litter decomposition in tropical and subalpine forests. Ecology 82:955–964Google Scholar
  16. Gotelli NJ, Ellison AM (2004) A primer of ecological statistics. Sinauer, SunderlandGoogle Scholar
  17. Haddad NM, Tilman D, Haarstad J, Ritchie M, Knops JMH (2001) Contrasting effects of plant richness and composition on insect communities: a field experiment. Am Nat 158:17–35PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. Hairston NG Jr, Hairston NG Sr (1993) Cause–effect relationships in energy-flow, trophic structure, and interspecific interactions. Am Nat 142:379–411CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. Hansen RA (1999) Red oak litter promotes a microarthropod functional group that accelerates its decomposition. Plant Soil 209:37–45CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. Hansen RA (2000) Effects of habitat complexity and composition on a diverse litter microarthropod assemblage. Ecology 81:1120–1132Google Scholar
  21. Hättenschwiler S, Tiunov AV, Scheu S (2005) Biodiversity and litter decomposition in terrestrial ecosystems. Annu Rev Ecol Evol Syst 36:191–218CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. Heneghan L, Coleman DC, Zou X, Crossley DA, Haines BL (1999) Soil microarthropod contributions to decomposition dynamics: tropical-temperate comparisons of a single substrate. Ecology 80:1873–1882Google Scholar
  23. Hochwender CG, Fritz RS (2004) Plant genetic differences influence herbivore community structure: evidence from a hybrid willow system. Oecologia 138:547–557PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. Hooper DU, Bignell DE, Brown VK, Brussaard L, Dangerfield JM, Wall DH, Wardle DA, Coleman DC, Giller KE, Lavelle P, Van der Putten WH, de Ruiter PC, Rusek J, Silver WL, Tiedge JM, Wolters V (2000) Interaction between aboveground and belowground biodiversity in terrestrial ecosystems: patterns, mechanisms, and feedbacks. Bioscience 50:1049–1061CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. Hooper DU, Ewel JJ, Hector A, Inchausti P, Lavorel S, Lawton JH, Lodge D, Loreau M, Naeem S, Schmid B, Setälä H, Symstad AJ, Vandermeer J, Wardle DA (2005) Effects of biodiversity on ecosystem functioning: a consensus of current knowledge. Ecol Monogr 75:3–35CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  26. Hughes AR, Stachowicz JJ (2004) Genetic diversity enhances the resistance of a seagrass ecosystem to disturbance. Proc Natl Acad Sci USA 101:8998–9002PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  27. Hutchinson GE (1959) Homage to Santa Rosalia or why are there so many kinds of animals? Am Nat 93:145–159CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  28. Johnson MTJ, Agrawal AA (2005) Plant genotype and environment interact to shape a diverse arthropod community on evening primrose (Oenothera biennis). Ecology 86:874–885CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  29. Johnson MTJ, Agrawal AA (2007) Covariation and composition of arthropod species across plant genotypes of evening primrose (Oenothera biennis). Oikos 116:941–956CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  30. Johnson MTJ, Lajeunesse MJ, Agrawal AA (2006) Additive and interactive effects of plant genotypic diversity on arthropod communities and plant fitness. Ecol Lett 9:24–34PubMedGoogle Scholar
  31. Kaneko N, Salamanca EF (1999) Mixed leaf litter effects on decomposition rates and soil microarthropod communities in an oak-pine stand in Japan. Ecol Res 14:131–138CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  32. Maddox GD, Root RB (1987) Resistance to 16 diverse species of herbivorous insects within a population of goldenrod, Solidago altissima—genetic variation and heritability. Oecologia 72:8–14CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  33. Maddox GD, Cook RE, Wimberger PH, Gardescu S (1989) Clone structure in 4 Solidago altissima (Asteraceae) populations—rhizome connections within genotypes. Am J Bot 76:318–326CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  34. Madritch MD, Hunter MD (2002) Phenotypic diversity influences ecosystem functioning in an oak sandhills community. Ecology 83:2084–2090CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  35. Madritch MD, Hunter MD (2005) Phenotypic variation in oak litter influences short- and long-term nutrient cycling through litter chemistry. Soil Biol Biochem 37:319–327CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  36. Maraun M, Migge S, Schaefer M, Scheu S (1998) Selection of microfungal food by six oribatid mite species (Oribatida, Acari) from two different beech forests. Pedobiologia 42:232–240Google Scholar
  37. Maraun M, Scheu S (2000) The structure of oribatid mite communities (Acari, Oribatida): patterns, mechanisms and implications for future research. Ecography 23:374–383CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  38. Merchant VA, Crossley DA Jr (1970) An inexpensive high-efficiency Tullgren extractor for soil microarthropods. J Ga Entomol Soc 5:83–87Google Scholar
  39. Moore JC, Berlow EL, Coleman DC, de Ruiter PC, Dong Q, Hastings A, Johnson NC, McCann KS, Melville K, Morin PJ, NadelhoVer K, Rosemond AD, Post DM, Sabo JL, Scow KM, Vanni MJ, Wall DH (2004) Detritus, trophic dynamics and biodiversity. Ecol Lett 7:584–600CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  40. Root RB (1996) Herbivore pressure on goldenrods (Solidago altissima): its variation and cumulative effects. Ecology 77:1074–1087CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  41. Schneider K, Migge S, Norton RA, Scheu S, Langel R, Reineking A, Maraun M (2004) Trophic niche differentiation in soil microarthopods (Oribatida, Acari): evidence from stable isotope ratios (15N/14N). Soil Biol Biochem 36:1769–1774CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  42. Schweitzer JA, Bailey JK, Hart SC, Whitham TG (2005) Non-additive effects of mixing cottonwood genotypes on litter decomposition and nutrient dynamics. Ecology 86:2834–2840CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  43. Schweitzer JA, Bailey JK, Bangert RK, Hart SC, Whitham TG (2007) The role of plant genetic variation in determining above- and belowground microbial communities. In: Bailey MJ, Lilley AK, Timms-Wilson TM, Spencer-Phillips PTN (eds) Microbial ecology of aerial plant surfaces. CABIGoogle Scholar
  44. Semple JC, Cook RE (2006) Solidago. In: Flora of North America. Oxford University Press, OxfordGoogle Scholar
  45. Shuster SM, Lonsdorf EV, Wimp GM, Bailey JK, Whitham TG (2006) Community heritability measures the evolutionary consequences of indirect genetic effects on community structure. Evolution 60:991–1003PubMedGoogle Scholar
  46. Siemann E, Tilman D, Haarstad J, Ritchie M (1998) Experimental tests of the dependence of arthropod diversity on plant diversity. Am Nat 152:738–750PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  47. Silfver T, Mikola J, Rousi M, Roininen H, Oksanen E (2007) Leaf litter decomposition differs among genotypes in a local Betula pendula population. Oecologia 152:707–714PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  48. Southwood TRE, Brown VK, Reader PM (1979) Relationships of plant and insect diversities in succession. Biol J Linn Soc 12:327–348CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  49. Tovar-Sánchez E, Oyama K (2006) Effect of hybridization of the Quercus crassifolia x Quercus crassipes complex on the community structure of endophagous insects. Oecologia 147:702–713PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  50. Wardle DA (2006) The influence of biotic interactions on soil biodiversity. Ecol Lett 9:870–886PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  51. Wardle DA, Bardgett RD, Klironomos JN, Setala H, van der Putten WH, Wall DH (2004) Ecological linkages between aboveground and belowground biota. Science 304:1629–1633PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  52. Wardle DA, Yeates GW, Barker GM, Bonner KI (2006) The influence of plant litter diversity on decomposer abundance and diversity. Soil Biol Biochem 38:1052–1062CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  53. Whitham TG, Martinsen GD, Young W, Gehring CA, Schweitzer JA, Wimp GM, Bailey JK, Fischer DG, Lindroth R, Keim P (2003) Community and ecosystem genetics: a consequence of the extended phenotype. Ecology 84:559–573CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  54. Whitham TG, Bailey JK, Schweitzer JA, LeRoy CJ, Fischer DG, Lonsdorf E, Shuster SM, Lindroth RL, Hart SC, Allan GJ, Gehring CA, Keim P, Potts BM, Woolbright S (2006) A framework for community and ecosystem genetics: from genes to ecosystems. Nat Rev Genet 7:510–523PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  55. Wimp GM, Martinsen GD, Floate KD, Bangert RK, Whitham TG (2005) Plant genetic determinants of arthropod community structure and diversity. Evolution 59:61–69PubMedGoogle Scholar
  56. Wimp GM, Wooley S, Bangert RK, Young WP, Martinsen GD, Keim P, Rehill B, Lindroth RL, Whitham TG (2007) Plant genetics predicts intra-annual variation in phytochemistry and arthropod community structure. Mol Ecol 16:5057–5069PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2008

Authors and Affiliations

  • Gregory M. Crutsinger
    • 1
  • W. Nicholas Reynolds
    • 2
  • Aimée T. Classen
    • 1
    • 3
  • Nathan J. Sanders
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Ecology and Evolutionary BiologyUniversity of TennesseeKnoxvilleUSA
  2. 2.Entomology and Plant Pathology DepartmentUniversity of TennesseeKnoxvilleUSA
  3. 3.Environmental Science DivisionOak Ridge National LaboratoryOak RidgeUSA

Personalised recommendations