Eco-evolutionary Dynamics of Above- and Belowground Herbivores and Invasive Plants

  • Wei Huang
  • Evan Siemann
  • Jianqing Ding
Part of the Ecological Studies book series (ECOLSTUD, volume 234)


Selection on plants imposed by herbivores can trigger adaptive evolution in growth, reproduction, and defense. Such evolutionary changes in plant traits in turn may affect herbivores and other organisms. These interdependent ecological processes and evolutionary changes have been demonstrated for plant–herbivore interactions aboveground. But, increasing evidence highlights the importance of belowground herbivores for plant performance and population dynamics and demonstrates complex interactions between above- and belowground herbivores. In this chapter, we explore eco-evolutionary dynamics of above- and belowground plant–herbivore interactions. We focus on invasive plants since many of them have novel herbivore assemblages in the introduced range, a setting in which plant traits may evolve and then exert new impacts on above- and belowground herbivores. The literature suggests that both above- and belowground herbivores drive changes in plant traits but that their effects are not simply additive since there is substantial variation in the effects of herbivores on plants. Furthermore, responses of herbivores to variation in plant traits cannot be predicted by feeding compartment, feeding mode, or diet breadth. Variation in plant traits is consistent with differences in herbivore loads, non-herbivore organisms, and abiotic stresses between native and introduced ranges. Therefore, without integration of herbivores in both above- and belowground compartments, it is hard to make accurate predictions of eco-evolutionary dynamics of plant–herbivore interactions.



We thank Takayuki Ohgushi, Susanne Wurst, and Scott Johnson for the invitation to contribute to the book “Aboveground and Belowground Community Ecology.” We are grateful for comments by Takayuki Ohgushi and two anonymous referees that improved the early version of this manuscript. This work was supported by National Natural Science Foundation of China (31470447 to WH, 31370404 to JD), the Youth Innovation Promotion Association of the Chinese Academy of Sciences (Y329351H03 to WH), and the Foreign Visiting Professorship of Chinese Academy of Sciences (2015VBA025 to ES).


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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing AG, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Wei Huang
    • 1
    • 2
  • Evan Siemann
    • 3
  • Jianqing Ding
    • 4
  1. 1.Key Laboratory of Aquatic Plant and Watershed Ecology, Wuhan Botanical GardenChinese Academy of SciencesWuhanChina
  2. 2.Institute of Plant SciencesUniversity of BernBernSwitzerland
  3. 3.Department of BiosciencesRice UniversityHoustonUSA
  4. 4.School of Life SciencesHenan UniversityKaifengChina

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