Arthropod-Plant Interactions

, Volume 6, Issue 2, pp 197–202 | Cite as

Prolonged exposure is required for communication in sagebrush

  • Kaori Shiojiri
  • Richard KarbanEmail author
  • Satomi Ishizaki
Original Paper


Volatile communication allows plants to coordinate systemic induced resistance against herbivores. The mechanisms responsible and nature of the cues remain poorly understood. It is unknown how plants distinguish between reliable cues and misinformation. Previous experiments in which clipped sagebrush branches were bagged suggested that cues are emitted or remain active for up to 3 days. We conducted experiments using plastic bags to block emission of cues at various times following experimental clipping. We also collected headspace volatiles from clipped and unclipped branches for 1 h, transferred those volatiles to assay branches, and incubated the assays for either 1 or 6 h. We found that assay branches that received volatile cues for less than 1 h following clipping of neighbors failed to induce resistance. Assay branches that received volatile cues for more than 1 h experienced reduced herbivory throughout the season. Branches incubated for 6 h with volatiles that had been collected during the first hour following clipping showed induced resistance. These results indicate that sagebrush must receive cues for an extended time (>1 h) before responding; they suggest that the duration of cue reception is an important and overlooked process in communication allowing plants to avoid unreliable, ephemeral cues.


Artemisia tridentata Eavesdropping Green leaf volatiles Receiver Induced resistance Volatile 



Our experiments were conducted at the UC Sagehen Natural Reserve in the Tahoe National Forest, and we thank Jeff Brown for facilitating our work there. We were supported by grants from the JSPS.


  1. Arimura G, Shiojiri K, Karban R (2010) Acquired immunity to herbivory and allelopathy caused by airborne plant emissions. Phytochemistry 71:1642–1649PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Bradbury JW, Vehrencamp SL (1998) Principles of animal communication. Sinauer, SunderlandGoogle Scholar
  3. Cipollini DF (1997) Wind-induced mechanical stimulation increases pest resistance in common bean. Oecologia 111:84–90CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Farmer EE, Ryan CA (1990) Interplant communication: airborne methyl jasmonate induces synthesis of proteinase inhibitors in plant leaves. Proc Natl Acad Sci 87:7713–7716PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Frost CJ, Appel HM, Carlson JD, De Moraes CM, Mescher MC, Schultz JC (2007) Within-plant signaling via volatiles overcomes vascular constraints on systemic signaling and primes responses against herbivores. Ecol Lett 10:490–498PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Gotelli NJ, Ellison AM (2004) A primer of ecological statistics. Sinauer, SunderlandGoogle Scholar
  7. Heil M, Karban R (2010) Explaining evolution of plant communication by airborne signals. Trends Ecol Evol 25:137–144PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Heil M, Silva Bueno JC (2007) Within-plant signaling by volatiles leads to induction and priming of an indirect plant defense in nature. Proc Natl Acad Sci 104:5467–5472PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Hilker M, Meiners T (2006) Early herbivore alert: insect eggs induce plant defense. J Chem Ecol 32:1379–1397PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Karban R (2008) Plant behavior and communication. Ecol Lett 11:727–739PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. Karban R, Agrawal AA, Thaler JS, Adler LS (1999) Induced plant responses and information content about risk of herbivory. Trends Ecol Evol 14:443–447PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. Karban R, Shiojiri K, Huntzinger M, McCall AC (2006) Damage-induced resistance in sagebrush: volatiles are key to intra- and interplant communication. Ecology 87:922–930PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. Karban R, Shiojiri K, Ishizaki S (2010) An air transfer experiment confirms the role of volatile cues in communication between plants. Amer Nat 176:381–384CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. Kessler A, Halitschke R, Diezel C, Baldwin IT (2006) Priming of plant defense responses in nature by airborne signaling between Artemisia tridentata and Nicotiana attenuata. Oecologia 148:280–292PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. Kim J, Quaghebeur H, Felton GW (2011) Reiterative and interruptive signaling in induced plant resistance to chewing insects. Phytochemistry 72:1624–1634PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. Orians C (2005) Herbivores, vascular pathways, and systemic induction: facts and artifacts. J Chem Ecol 31:2231–2242PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. Peiffer M, Tooker JF, Luthe DS, Felton GW (2009) Plants on early alert glandular trichomes as sensors for insect herbivores. New Phytol 184:644–656PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. Preston CA, Laue G, Baldwin IT (2004) Plant-plant signaling: application of trans- or cis-methyl jasmonate equivalent to sagebrush releases does not elicit direct defenses in native tobacco. J Chem Ecol 30:2193–2214PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. Rodriguez-Saona CR, Rodriguez-Saona LE, Frost CJ (2009) Herbivore induced volatiles in the perennial shrub, Vaccinium corymbosum, and their role in inter-branch signaling. J Chem Ecol 35:163–175PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. Rodriguez-Soana C, Thaler JS (2005) The jasmonate pathway alters herbivore feeding behavior: consequences for plant defences. Ent Exp et Appl 115:125–134CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. Schaefer HM, Ruxton GD (2011) Plant-animal communication. Oxford Press, OxfordGoogle Scholar
  22. Shiojiri K, Karban R (2006) Plant age, communication, and resistance to herbivores: young sagebrush plants are better emitters and receivers. Oecologia 149:214–220PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. Shiojiri K, Karban R, Ishizaki S (2009) Volatile communication among sagebrush branches affects herbivory: timing of active cues. Arthropod Plant Interact 3:99–104CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. Takahaski M, Huntley N (2010) Herbivorous insects reduce growth and reproduction of big sagebrush (Artemisia tridentata). Arthropod Plant Interact 4:257–266CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. Viswanathan DV, Thaler JS (2004) Plant vascular architecture and within-plant spatial patterns in resource quality following herbivory. J Chem Ecol 50:531–543CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  26. Wiens JA, Cates RG, Rotenberry JT, Cobb N, Van Horne B, Redak R (1991) Arthropod dynamics on sagebrush (Artemisia tridentata): effects of plant chemistry and avian predation. Ecol Monogr 61:299–321CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  27. Young JA, Evans RA, Major J (1988) Sagebrush steppe. In: Barbour MG, Major J (eds) Terrestrial vegetation of California, 2nd edn. California Native Plant Society Special Publication 9, Sacramento, pp 763–769Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  • Kaori Shiojiri
    • 1
  • Richard Karban
    • 2
    Email author
  • Satomi Ishizaki
    • 3
  1. 1.The Hakubi CenterKyoto UniversityKyotoJapan
  2. 2.Department of EntomologyUniversity of CaliforniaDavisUSA
  3. 3.Graduate School of Environmental ScienceHokkaido UniversitySapporoJapan

Personalised recommendations