Tolerance as an anti-herbivory trait: effects of artificial damage to the nickel hyperaccumulator Streptanthus polygaloides.
TOLERANCE AS AN ANTI-HERBIVORY TRAIT: EFFECTS OF ARTIFICIAL DAMAGE TO THE NICKEL HYPERACCUMULATOR STREPTANTHUS POLYGALOIDES. KATHERINE MINCEY AND ROBERT BOYD, DEPT. OF BIOLOGICAL SCIENCES, AUBURN UNIVERSITY, AUBURN, AL 36849.
Metal hyperaccumulation has been hypothesized to have evolved to increase plant resistance to herbivory, but tolerance as an herbivore defense has been little investigated in hyperaccumulation ecology. This study determined the tolerance of the annual plant Streptanthus polygaloides to damage over a four-month growing period. Seeds were planted in a greenhouse in one of two soil nickel concentrations (unamended: 0 ppm or Ni amended: 800 ppm). One-month-old plants were randomly assigned one of four levels of artificial damage applied to the leaves (0, 10, 25 and 50% removal of original leaf area). Response variables included leaf number produced, final plant height and number of flowers produced. Data were analyzed by two-way analysis of variance (ANOVA). We found no interaction between soil nickel and artificial herbivory treatments for leaf number or final plant height. However, we observed a significant interaction between treatments for number of flowers produced (reflecting plant fitness). Plants with lower levels of damage (control, 10%) had equal numbers of flowers in both soil types, but plants with 25% and 50% damage had 1.3-fold greater flower production in nickel-amended soil compared to unamended soil. Presence of nickel significantly improved the ability of S. polygaloides to tolerate the negative effects of intense damage. We conclude that Ni hyperaccumulation provides a fitness benefit to S. polygaloides through increased tolerance to high levels of herbivore damage.
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|Title Annotation:||Biological Sciences Poster Abstracts|
|Publication:||Journal of the Alabama Academy of Science|
|Date:||Apr 1, 2014|
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