Oecologia

, Volume 177, Issue 2, pp 607–617 | Cite as

Responses of leaf beetle larvae to elevated [CO2] and temperature depend on Eucalyptus species

Global change ecology - Original research

Abstract

It is essential to understand the combined effects of elevated [CO2] and temperature on insect herbivores when attempting to forecast climate change responses of diverse ecosystems. Plant species differ in foliar chemistry, and this may result in idiosyncratic plant-mediated responses of insect herbivores at elevated [CO2] and temperature. We measured the response of the eucalypt leaf beetle Paropsis atomaria (Coleoptera: Chrysomelidae) feeding on Eucalyptus tereticornis and Eucalyptus robusta. Seedlings were grown at ambient (400 µmol mol−1) or elevated (640 µmol mol−1) [CO2] and ambient (26/18 °C day/night) or elevated (ambient + 4 °C) temperature in a greenhouse for 7 months. Larvae fed on flush leaves from egg hatch to pupation while being directly exposed to these conditions. Elevated [CO2] reduced foliar [N] and [P], while it increased total nonstructural carbohydrates and the C:N ratio. Elevated temperature increased foliar [N] in E. robusta but not E. tereticornis. Plant-mediated effects of elevated [CO2] reduced female pupal weight and increased developmental time and leaf consumption. Larval survival at elevated [CO2] was impacted differently by the two host plant species; survival increased on E. robusta while it decreased on E. tereticornis. Elevated temperature accelerated larval development but did not impact other insect parameters. We did not detect a CO2 × temperature interaction, suggesting that elevated temperature as a combined direct and plant-mediated effect may not be able to ameliorate the negative plant-mediated effects of elevated [CO2] on insect herbivores. Our study highlighted host-plant-specific responses of insect herbivores to climate change factors that resulted in host-plant-specific survival.

Keywords

Elevated CO2 × temperature interactions Coleoptera Eucalyptus Plant–insect interactions 

Supplementary material

442_2014_3182_MOESM1_ESM.pdf (195 kb)
Supplementary material 1 (PDF 195 kb)

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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Hawkesbury Institute for the EnvironmentUniversity of Western SydneyPenrithAustralia
  2. 2.School of Science and HealthUniversity of Western SydneyPenrithAustralia

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