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Eco-evolutionary dynamics in herbivorous insect communities mediated by induced plant responses


It is increasingly recognized that the ecology of communities and evolution of species within communities are interdependent, and researchers have been paying attention to this rapidly emerging field of research, i.e., through studies on eco-evolutionary dynamics. Most of the studies on eco-evolutionary dynamics have been concerned with direct trophic interactions. However, community ecologists have shown that trait-mediated indirect effects play an important role in shaping the structure of natural communities. In particular, in terrestrial plant–insect systems, indirect effects mediated through herbivore-induced plant responses are common and have a great impact on the structure of herbivore communities. This review describes eco-evolutionary dynamics in herbivorous insect communities, and specifically focuses on the key role of herbivore-induced plant responses in eco-evolutionary dynamics. First, I review studies on the evolution of herbivore traits relevant to plant induction and discuss evolution in a community context mediated by induced plant responses. Second, I highlight how intraspecific genetic variation or evolution in herbivore traits can influence herbivore community structure. Finally, I propose the hypothetical model that induced plant responses supports eco-evolutionary feedback in herbivore communities. In this review, I argue that the application of the indirect interaction web approaches into studies on eco-evolutionary will provide profound insights into understanding of mechanisms of the generation and maintenance of biodiversity.

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I am grateful to Takayuki Ohgushi for providing me the opportunity to talk in the symposium in the 25th annual meeting of the Society of Population Ecology and write this manuscript. I also thank two anonymous reviewers and Yoshino Ando for valuable comments to an earlier draft. This work was partly supported by Global COE program (A06) to Kyoto University and a Grant-in Aid for a Research Fellow of the Japan Society of the Promotion of Science (no. 22-9260) to Shunsuke Utsumi.

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Correspondence to Shunsuke Utsumi.

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This manuscript was submitted for the special feature based on the symposium in Kyoto, held on 18th October 2009.

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Utsumi, S. Eco-evolutionary dynamics in herbivorous insect communities mediated by induced plant responses. Popul Ecol 53, 23–34 (2011). https://doi.org/10.1007/s10144-010-0253-2

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  • Community genetics
  • Diffuse selection
  • Eco-evolutionary feedback
  • Herbivore-induced plant response
  • Indirect interaction web
  • Trait-mediated indirect effects