Hybridization increases canopy arthropod diversity in the Quercus affinis × Quercus laurina complex
Understanding the factors that influence the diversity and composition of arthropod communities is a major topic in ecology. Canopy arthropod communities are a major constituent of biodiversity and show great variation in time and space according to different factors. Recently, genetic variation within tree species has attracted attention as a significant factor determining the diversity and composition of canopy arthropod communities. A major source of genetic and phenotypic novelty in plant species is interspecific hybridization, and therefore it is of interest to evaluate how this process affects the communities of associated organisms. In this study, we used microsatellite markers and geometric morphometry of leaf shape to analyze genetic and morphological variation in 45 individuals in a local hybrid zone between the oaks Quercus affinis and Q. laurina in Mexico. Individual trees were assigned to one of the parental species or to the hybrid category. The percentage of leaf area removed by herbivores was quantified in each individual and the canopies of five individuals of each categeory (two parental species and hybrids) was fogged with insecticide to assess the diversity and composition of arthropod communities. Results indicated that hybrid trees experience higher levels of herbivory than parental species and also sustain a higher abundance and richness of canopy arthropods. In general, our study supports the “hybrid susceptibility hypothesis” that predicts a higher incidence of associated arthropods on hybrid plants than in their parental species as result of the disruption of co-adapted gene complexes associated to resistance traits.
KeywordsHybrids Quercus laurina × Quercus affinis complex Arthropod diversity Canopy
This project was supported by CONACYT project CB105755 and DGAPA-PAPIIT-UNAM project RV201015. Cuevas-Reyes P thanks Coordinación de la Investigación Científica UMSNH (Grant No. 111) for their generous support. We also thank Fidel Anguiano for editing figures.
Compliance with ethical standards
Conflict of interest
The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.
Informed consent was obtained from all individual participants included in the study.
Research involving human participants and/or animals
This article does not contain any studies with human participants or animals performed by any of the authors.
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