, Volume 137, Issue 1, pp 114–122 | Cite as

Development of gypsy moth larvae feeding on red maple saplings at elevated CO2 and temperature

  • Ray S. WilliamsEmail author
  • David E. Lincoln
  • Richard J. Norby
Global Change Ecology


Predicted increases in atmospheric CO2 and global mean temperature may alter important plant-insect associations due to the direct effects of temperature on insect development and the indirect effects of elevated temperature and CO2 enrichment on phytochemicals important for insect success. We investigated the effects of CO2 and temperature on the interaction between gypsy moth (Lymantria dispar L.) larvae and red maple (Acer rubrum L.) saplings by bagging first instar larvae within open-top chambers at four CO2/temperature treatments: (1) ambient temperature, ambient CO2, (2) ambient temperature, elevated CO2 (+300 μl l-1 CO2), (3) elevated temperature (+3.5°C), ambient CO2, and (4) elevated temperature, elevated CO2. Larvae were reared to pupation and leaf samples taken biweekly to determine levels of total N, water, non-structural carbohydrates, and an estimate of defensive phenolic compounds in three age classes of foliage: (1) immature, (2) mid-mature and (3) mature. Elevated growth temperature marginally reduced (P <0.1) leaf N and significantly reduced (P <0.05) leaf water across CO2 treatments in mature leaves, whereas leaves grown at elevated CO2 concentration had a significant decrease in leaf N and a significant increase in the ratio of starch:N and total non-structural carbohydrates:N. Leaf N and water decreased and starch:N and total non-structural carbohydrates:N ratios increased as leaves aged. Phenolics were unaffected by CO2 or temperature treatment. There were no interactive effects of CO2 and temperature on any phytochemical measure. Gypsy moth larvae reached pupation earlier at the elevated temperature (female =8 days, P <0.07; male =7.5 days, P <0.03), whereas mortality and pupal fresh weight of insects were unrelated to either CO2, temperature or their interaction. Our data show that CO2 or temperature-induced alterations in leaf constituents had no effect on insect performance; instead, the long-term exposure to a 3.5°C increase in temperature shortened insect development but had no effect on pupal weight. It appears that in some tree-herbivorous insect systems the direct effects of an increased global mean temperature may have greater consequences for altering plant-insect interactions than the indirect effects of an increased temperature or CO2 concentration on leaf constituents.


Elevated temperature Pupal weight Lymantria dispar Acer rubrum Global climate change 



Special thanks go to Trey Franklin for his work on the phytochemical analyses and to Vic Mastro at USDA-APHIS for his assistance in obtaining gypsy moth egg masses. Members of the Environmental Sciences Division at ORNL contributed valuable time and effort to this project. We gratefully acknowledge the helpful comments and suggestions of anonymous reviewers and Ms. Beverly Moser. Advice on the statistical analysis from Dr. Howard Neufeld, Department of Biology, Appalachian State University, and Dr. Greg Somers, Auburn University, was greatly appreciated. This work was supported by a grant from the National Institute of Global Environmental Change to D.E. Lincoln (UA/96UOSC12) and the U.S. Department of Energy's Office of Biological and Environmental Research and Office of Science. This research was performed at the Oak Ridge National Laboratory, which is managed by UT-Battelle, LLC, for the U.S. Department of Energy under contract DE-0AC05–00OR22725. This work contributes to the Global Change and Terrestrial Ecosystems Core Research Programme, a core project of the International Geosphere-Biosphere Programme.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2003

Authors and Affiliations

  • Ray S. Williams
    • 1
    Email author
  • David E. Lincoln
    • 2
  • Richard J. Norby
    • 3
  1. 1.Department of BiologyAppalachian State UniversityBooneUSA
  2. 2.Department of Biological SciencesUniversity of South CarolinaColumbiaUSA
  3. 3.Oak Ridge National LaboratoryOak RidgeUSA

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