Plant-mediated insect interactions on a perennial plant : consequences for community dynamics
Stam, J.M. - \ 2016
University. Promotor(en): Marcel Dicke, co-promotor(en): Erik Poelman. - Wageningen : Wageningen University - ISBN 9789462578647 - 254 p.
016-3976 - perennials - brassica oleracea - defence mechanisms - glucosinolates - insect pests - herbivory - plutella xylostella - mamestra brassicae - pieris rapae - herbivore induced plant volatiles - animal communities - population dynamics - overblijvende planten - verdedigingsmechanismen - glucosinolaten - insectenplagen - herbivorie - herbivoor-geinduceerde plantengeuren - diergemeenschappen - populatiedynamica
Plants interact with many organisms around them, and one of the most important groups that a plant has to deal with, are the herbivores. Insects represent the most diverse group of herbivores and have many different ways of using the plant as a food source. Plants can, however, defend themselves against those herbivores, either by constitutive defences, or by traits that are induced upon herbivory. These traits, such as the formation of more trichomes or the production of secondary metabolites, can deter an insect herbivore in its decision to eat from the plant, can be toxic, or otherwise hamper the insect to feed, grow or reproduce. The way a plant responds to herbivory is very specific, depending on the feeding mode or the species of the attacking insect. Furthermore, plant responses to dual herbivory differ from the sum of responses to each herbivore alone. Also the time and order at which multiple insects arrive on a plant, influence the plant’s response. Finally, plant species or populations can show different responses to herbivory. Altogether these factors result in a plant phenotype that the attacking herbivore has to deal with. In addition to the attacker, also subsequently arriving insects will be affected by a change in plant phenotype. Because plants and insects can respond to each other in a continuous chain of interactions, an herbivore early in the season can indirectly affect the later-season community composition through the induced plant response. However, we know only little about the consequences of a dual-herbivore induced plant phenotype for subsequent feeders, and ultimately, the effects on the assembly and dynamics of an insect community as a whole.
The aim of this thesis project was to study the consequences of feeding by multiple insects from the same plant, not only to a subsequent herbivore, but also to the dynamics of a whole insect community over the course of a growing season, and beyond. Furthermore, I studied how the order of herbivore arrival and timing of arrival affected both a next herbivore’s choice and performance in a greenhouse setting, as well as the development of the whole insect community in the field. In addition, I studied how plant populations vary in induced responses, have specific plant-mediated interactions among insect herbivores, and how long these induced responses influence the insect community and plant fitness. Finally, I identified non-additive effects of the history of insect attacks and plant ontogeny to the future insect community.
In the first chapter of this thesis, I introduce the study system. For this project I used several populations of the wild cabbage plant, Brassica oleracea. This is an herbaceous perennial plant that flowers from the second growing season onwards, and supports a large and diverse above-ground arthropod community of more than thirty different species. The plant belongs to the family of Brassicaceae, which is known for the biosynthesis of a group of secondary metabolites, the glucosinolates. These metabolites may deter insects, although some insect species use it as a feeding cue. Two specialist insect herbivores from different feeding guilds, the caterpillar of the diamondback moth Plutella xylostella and the cabbage aphid Brevicoryne brassicae, were used to study their effect as early-season inducer of plant responses either alone or in combination. The caterpillar of the generalist cabbage moth, Mamestra brassicae, was used in bioassays to assess the effects of the induced plant phenotype by single or dual herbivory. Furthermore, in three chapters (Chapters 4, 6 and 7) I have closely studied the composition of the naturally occurring insect community throughout the season for one or two years in a common-garden field setting. In the last of these three chapters, I used the caterpillars of the specialist cabbage white, Pieris rapae, to induce plants at different moments of their ontogeny, while excluding the insect community for varying periods of time by a net or exposing plants to their natural insect community.
In an elaborate literature review, I and my collaborators concluded in chapter 2 that plant responses to dual herbivory evoke different plant responses than the sum of each herbivore alone. This has consequences at all levels from arthropod community assembly to the choice and performance of individual insects. The mechanisms of plant responses to dual herbivory are found in gene expression, hormone production and other molecular processes within the plant. All these aspects of interactions between insects and plants occur and are connected at different time scales.
To follow up on the question how timing plays a role in dual herbivory, we varied the time between, as well as the order of arrival of aphids and/or caterpillars on a plant. We observed that both affected the preference and performance of a subsequently feeding caterpillar (Chapter 3). Mamestra brassicae performed better on plants with a longer time interval between the first and second feeder. Also in a field setting (Chapter 4), the order of herbivore arrival early in the season affected the insect community composition later in the season in two different years, likely through a chain of indirect insect interactions. In this field study, the plant population influenced the outcome of early-season herbivory to later community dynamics. In chapter 5 we found that three plant populations in response to simultaneous aphid and caterpillar attack differed in the expression of two genes that are important for the regulation of herbivore-induced responses. Also, the production of one of two important plant hormones, salicylic acid, responded differently to single or dual herbivory in a unique pattern for each of the plant populations. These different plant responses subsequently negatively affected a next caterpillar on the same plant; M. brassicae growth was impaired on plants which had been fed upon by both aphids and caterpillars, in comparison to control plants. These field and greenhouse studies thus show the implications of dual herbivory beyond effects in the plant; it affects subsequent herbivory, and through a chain of plant-mediated insect interactions, the dynamics of a whole insect community.
In the sixth chapter we show that variation in insect community dynamics can last beyond the moment that the insects were present, even across years. In this field study, the naturally occurring carnivore community influenced the carnivore community composition a year later. Importantly, the herbivore community affected plant fitness across years (but not within years). We propose that such legacy effects are mediated by plant traits, which vary upon insect induction in the first year, and affect the insect community in the next year.
Finally, the history of all insect attacks to a plant up until that moment shape the future insect community by influencing the colonisation of insect species on the plant. Moreover, also plant ontogeny plays a role in shaping the insect community; plant-mediated responses to herbivory at different plant ages resulted in different insect colonisation rates. The most important conclusion from this last data chapter (Chapter 7) is that the two processes, insect community history and plant ontogeny, are non-additive and affect the colonisation of insect species in the same (synergistic) or opposite (antagonistic) direction.
By framing my study results in a time line from minutes to months to years, I show in the general discussion (Chapter 8) that the consequences of dual herbivory for subsequently arriving insects are connected at different time scales. Plant responses to herbivory can occur within hours to days, which affect herbivore choices and performance in the following days and weeks. In their turn, variation of a few days in arrival time of insects may change how plants respond and prioritize their responses to insects throughout the rest of the season. The insects that subsequently arrive on a dual-herbivore induced plant may change the plant phenotype even further and through a chain of insect-plant interactions, the effects on the insects and the plant can last throughout the season, and even across seasons. Furthermore, various factors such as the species of the attacking insect and its feeding guild, the timing after previous attack and the plant age at which herbivory occurs, as well as the genotypic background of the plant, all affect the outcomes of dynamic insect-plant interactions.
The results presented in this thesis thus contribute to the knowledge and interpretation of plant interactions with multiple herbivores. As plants are seldom attacked by a single herbivore, this implies that we have to take into account that multiple herbivory is not the same as the additive effects of single herbivores, and that this has long-lasting consequences for the insect community and the plant. To further understand how plants and insects have adapted to such a dynamic environment, I suggest future research to focus even more on the kinetics of plant physiological responses to dual attack, and to aim at answering the question of how predictable insect communities on a plant really are.
Unraveling molecular mechanisms underlying plant defense in response to dual insect attack : studying density-dependent effects
Kroes, A. - \ 2016
University. Promotor(en): Marcel Dicke; Joop van Loon. - Wageningen : Wageningen University - ISBN 9789462577756 - 265 p.
016-3953 - arabidopsis thaliana - insect pests - herbivory - pest resistance - defence mechanisms - insect plant relations - molecular plant pathology - density - insectenplagen - herbivorie - plaagresistentie - verdedigingsmechanismen - insect-plant relaties - moleculaire plantenziektekunde - dichtheid
In the field, plants suffer from attack by herbivorous insects. Plants have numerous adaptations to defend against herbivory. Not only do these defense responses reduce performance of the feeding herbivore, they also result in the attraction of natural enemies of herbivores.
The majority of studies investigating plant-insect interactions addressed mainly the effects of attack by a single herbivore species on induced plant defenses. However, because plants are members of complex communities, plants are exposed to different insect attackers at the same time. Moreover, attacks by different herbivores interact at different levels of biological organization, ranging from the level of gene expression, phytohormone production and biochemical changes up to the individual level. Effects of plant responses to feeding by two or more herbivore species simultaneously might cascade through the community and thereby affect insect community composition.
The induction of plant defense responses is regulated by a network of signaling pathways that mainly involve the phytohormones jasmonic acid (JA), salicylic acid (SA) and ethylene (ET). The signaling pathways of the two phytohormones SA and JA interact antagonistically, whereas JA and ET signaling pathways can interact both synergistically and antagonistically in regulating plant defense responses. In general, JA-mediated signaling underlies defense responses against leaf-chewing herbivores, such as caterpillars, whereas phloem-feeding insects, such as aphids, mainly induce SA-regulated defenses.
When caterpillars and aphids simultaneously feed on the same host plant, crosstalk between phytohormonal signaling pathways may affect the regulation of plant defenses. Consequently, multiple insect herbivores feeding on plants interact indirectly through plant-mediated effects. Studies investigating molecular mechanisms underlying interference by multiple attacking insects with induced plant defenses will benefit studies on the ecological consequences of induced plant responses.
The aim of this thesis was to elucidate molecular mechanisms that underlie plant-mediated interactions between attacking herbivores from different feeding guilds, namely Brevicoryne brassicae aphids and Plutella xylostella caterpillars.
Because herbivore density affects the regulation of plant defense responses, it may also influence the outcome of multiple insect-plant interactions. To study if modulation of induced plant defenses in response to dual insect attack depends on insect density, plants were infested with two densities of aphids.
Responses of Arabidopsis thaliana plants to simultaneous feeding by aphids and caterpillars were investigated by combining analyses of phytohormone levels, defense gene expression, volatile emission, insect performance and behavioral responses of parasitoids. To better predict consequences of interactions between plants and multiple insect attackers for herbivore communities, the regulation of defense responses against aphids and caterpillars was also studied in the ecological model plant wild Brassica oleracea.
Transcriptomic changes of plants during multiple insect attack and their consequences for the plant’s interactions with members of the associated insect community take place at different time scales. Direct correlation of transcriptomic responses with community development is, therefore, challenging. However, detailed knowledge of subcellular mechanisms can provide tools to address this challenge.
One of the objectives of this thesis, therefore, was to investigate the involvement of phytohormonal signaling pathways and their interactions during defense responses against caterpillars or aphids at different densities, when feeding alone or simultaneously on the model plant A. thaliana. The studies show that aphids at different densities interfere in contrasting ways with caterpillar-induced defenses, which required both SA- and JA-signal-transduction pathways. Transcriptional analysis revealed that expression of the SA transcription factor gene WRKY70 was differentially affected upon infestation by aphids at low or high densities. Interestingly, the expression data indicated that a lower expression level of WRKY70 led to significantly higher MYC2 expression through SA-JA crosstalk. Based on these findings, it is proposed that by down-regulating WRKY70 expression, the plant activates JA-dependent defenses which could lead to a higher resistance against aphids and caterpillars.
Plutella xylostella caterpillars also influenced plant defense responses when feeding simultaneously with aphids. Caterpillar feeding affected aphid-induced defenses which had negative consequences for aphid performance. Induction of both ET- and JA-mediated defense responses is required for this interference. Moreover, aphid density also played an important role in the modulation by P. xylostella of aphid-induced defenses: P. xylostella caterpillars induced changes in levels of JA and its biologically active from, JA-Ile, only when feeding simultaneously with aphids at a high density.
To study the overall effect of dual herbivory on induced plant defenses, not only interference with induced direct defense, but also with induced indirect defenses was addressed in A. thaliana. We found a significant preference of the aphid parasitoid Diaeretiella rapae for volatiles from aphid-infested A. thaliana wild-type plants and ein2-1 (ET-insensitive) mutants. Interestingly, simultaneous feeding by P. xylostella caterpillars on wild-type plants increased D. rapae’s preference for odors from aphid-infested plants. However, upon disruption of the ET-signaling pathway, D. rapae did not distinguish between ein2-1 mutants infested by aphids or by both aphids and caterpillars. This showed that intact ET signaling is needed for caterpillar modulation of the attraction of D. rapae parasitoids.
On the other hand, attraction of the caterpillar parasitoid Diadegma semiclausum to volatiles emitted by A. thaliana plants simultaneously infested by caterpillars and aphids was influenced by the density of the feeding aphids. Biosynthesis and emission of the terpene (E,E)-α-farnesene could be linked to the observed preference of D. semiclausum parasitoids for the HIPV blend emitted by plants dually infested by caterpillars and aphids at a high density, compared to dually infested plants with a low aphid density.
Transcriptomic changes in the response of A. thaliana wild-type plants to simultaneous feeding by P. xylostella caterpillars and B. brassicae aphids compared to plants infested by P. xylostella caterpillars alone were assessed using a microarray analysis. I particularly addressed the question whether the transcriptomic response to simultaneously attacking aphids and caterpillars was dependent on aphid density and time since initiation of herbivory. The data show that in response to simultaneous feeding by P. xylostella caterpillars and B. brassicae aphids the number of differentially expressed genes was higher compared to plants on which caterpillars had been feeding alone. Additionally, specific genes were differentially expressed in response to aphids feeding at low or high density. Cluster analysis showed that the pattern of gene expression over the different time points in response to dual infestation was also affected by the density of the attacking aphids. These results suggest that insects attacking at a high density cause an acceleration in plant responses compared to insects attacking at low density.
As a next step in the study of multiple interacting herbivores, I studied whether plant responses to dual herbivory have consequences for the performance of a subsequently arriving herbivore, Mamestra brassicae caterpillars. The ecological consequences of plant responses to dual herbivory cascading into a chain of interactions affecting other community members have remained unstudied so far. We used wild B. oleracea plants to evaluate dual herbivore-induced plant adaptations for subsequent herbivory. We found that simultaneous feeding by P. xylostella and B. brassicae resulted in different plant defense-related gene expression and differences in plant hormone levels compared to single herbivory, and this had a negative effect on subsequently arriving M. brassicae caterpillars. Differential induction of JA-regulated transcriptional responses to dual insect attack was observed which could have mediated a decrease in M. brassicae performance. The induction of plant defense signaling also affected both P. xylostella and B. brassicae performance. This study further helps to understand herbivore community build-up in the context of plant-mediated species interactions.
Altogether, findings from this thesis reveal a molecular basis underlying plant responses against multiple herbivory and provide insight in plant-mediated interactions between aphids and caterpillars feeding on plants growing in the field or used in agriculture.
Arriving at the right time : a temporal perspective on above-belowground herbivore interactions
Wang, Minggang - \ 2016
University. Promotor(en): Wim van der Putten, co-promotor(en): T.M. Bezemer; A. Biere. - Wageningen : Wageningen University - ISBN 9789462578142 - 174 p.
herbivores - aboveground belowground interactions - herbivory - defence mechanisms - roots - leaves - mycorrhizas - population dynamics - soil biology - herbivoren - boven- en ondergrondse interacties - herbivorie - verdedigingsmechanismen - wortels - bladeren - mycorrhizae - populatiedynamica - bodembiologie
Regulation of cucumber (Cucumis sativus) induced defence against the two-spotted spider mite (Tetranychus urticae
He, J. - \ 2016
University. Promotor(en): Harro Bouwmeester; Marcel Dicke, co-promotor(en): Iris Kappers. - Wageningen : Wageningen University - ISBN 9789462576810 - 211 p.
cucumis sativus - cucumbers - induced resistance - plant pests - tetranychus urticae - mites - defence mechanisms - herbivore induced plant volatiles - herbivory - metabolomics - terpenoids - genomics - komkommers - geïnduceerde resistentie - plantenplagen - mijten - verdedigingsmechanismen - herbivoor-geinduceerde plantengeuren - herbivorie - metabolomica - terpenen - genomica
Plants have evolved mechanisms to combat herbivory. These mechanisms can be classified as direct defences which have a negative influence on the herbivores and indirect defence that attracts natural enemies of the attacking herbivores. Both direct and indirect defences can be constantly present or induced upon attack. This study, using cucumber (Cucumis sativus) and the two-spotted spider mite (Tetranychus urticae) as model, aimed to reveal the molecular mechanisms underlying the induced defence during herbivory, with emphasis on transcriptional changes and the involved TFs, the enzymatic function of the genes associated with volatile biosynthesis, and their promoters which regulate their expression.
Host location by hyperparasitoids: an ecogenomic approach
Zhu, F. - \ 2015
University. Promotor(en): Marcel Dicke, co-promotor(en): Erik Poelman. - Wageningen : Wageningen University - ISBN 9789462574441 - 191
insect-plant relaties - insectenplagen - herbivorie - parasitoïden - planten - verdedigingsmechanismen - symbionten - plant-herbivoor relaties - herbivoor-geinduceerde plantengeuren - hyperparasitoïden - insect plant relations - insect pests - herbivory - parasitoids - plants - defence mechanisms - symbionts - plant-herbivore interactions - herbivore induced plant volatiles - hyperparasitoids
It is fascinating that our ecological systems are structured by both direct and indirect species interactions. In terrestrial ecosystems, plants interact with many species of insects that include both harmful herbivores and beneficial natural enemies of herbivores. During the last 30 years, substantial progress has been made in different plant-insect systems regarding plant trait-mediated species interactions in a tritrophic context. However, plant-based food webs generally consist of more than three trophic levels. For example, hyperparasitoids are parasitic wasps at the fourth trophic level within the plant-associated insect community. They parasitize larvae or pupae of primary parasitoids that are broadly used in biological pest control programmes. Surprisingly, the cues that hyperparasitoids use for host location have remained largely unknown.
The studies presented in this thesis aimed to investigate the cues that are used by hyperparasitoids in host location using an ecogenomic approach that combines metabolomic, transcriptomic and proteomic tools with behavioural studies and field experiments. In addition, we addressed the role of herbivore-associated organisms in plant-mediated indirect species interactions. A naturally existing study system of the Brassica oleracea plant-based food web, including four trophic levels was used. In this system, the two herbivorous insect species, Pieris brassicae and P. rapae, are specialists on Brassica plants. The plants emit herbivore-induced plant volatiles (HIPVs) in response to Pieris caterpillar feeding damage which results in attraction of natural enemies of the herbivores, i.e. Cotesia wasps. These parasitic wasps, in turn, are attacked by hyperparasitoids, such as Lysiba nana. The results presented in this thesis show that hyperparasitoids also use HIPVs for host searching. Interestingly, they are especially attracted by plant odours induced by parasitized caterpillars. Moreover, hyperparasitoids can also use caterpillar body odours to find their hosts at close distance. These findings indicate that infochemicals are the major cues that mediate host searching behaviour of hyperparastioids. Similar to other herbivore-associated organisms, parasitoid larvae feeding inside a herbivore host can induce both behavioral and physiological changes in the host. To further investigate how parasitoid larvae indirectly affect plant responses to herbivory and plant volatile-mediated multitrophic interactions, the role of caterpillar labial salivary glands in plant-hyperparasitoid interactions were investigated. The secretions of labial saliva were eliminated by using an ablation technique. Remarkably, the results show that when the labial salivary glands of the caterpillars were completely removed, plants induced by either unparasitized or Cotesia glomerata-parasitized caterpillars were equally attractive to the hyperparasitoid. Moreover, plants became less attractive to the hyperparasitoid when damaged by ablated caterpillars compared to plants damaged by mock-treated caterpillars and the hyperparasitoids were not able to distinguish between volatiles emitted by herbivore-damaged plants and undamaged control plants when caterpillar salivary glands had been removed. These results suggest that parasitism alters the composition of labial saliva of parasitized caterpillar, which thereby alters the plant phenotype and subsequently plant-hyperparasitoid interactions. The outcomes of this thesis contribute to our understanding of the role of infochemicals in foraging decisions of hyperparasitoids.
Getting prepared for future attack : induction of plant defences by herbivore egg deposition and consequences for the insect community
Pashalidou, F.G. - \ 2015
University. Promotor(en): Marcel Dicke; Joop van Loon, co-promotor(en): Nina Fatouros. - Wageningen : Wageningen University - ISBN 9789462574120 - 168
insect-plant relaties - planten - insectenplagen - herbivorie - verdedigingsmechanismen - geïnduceerde resistentie - herbivoor-geinduceerde plantengeuren - ovipositie - natuurlijke vijanden - brassica - pieris brassicae - trofische graden - sluipwespen - hyperparasitoïden - insectengemeenschappen - insect plant relations - plants - insect pests - herbivory - defence mechanisms - induced resistance - herbivore induced plant volatiles - oviposition - natural enemies - trophic levels - parasitoid wasps - hyperparasitoids - insect communities
Plants have evolved intriguing defences against insect herbivores. Compared to constitutive Plants have evolved intriguing defences against insect herbivores. Compared to constitutive defences that are always present, plants can respond with inducible defences when they are attacked. Insect herbivores can induce phenotypic changes in plants and consequently these changes may differentially affect subsequent attackers and their associated insect communities. Many studies consider herbivore-feeding damage as the first interaction between plants and insects. The originality of this study was to start with the first phase of herbivore attack, egg deposition, to understand the consequences of plant responses to eggs on subsequently feeding caterpillars and their natural enemies. The main plant species used for most of the experiments was Brassica nigra (black mustard), which occurs naturally in The Netherlands. The main herbivore used was the lepidopteran Pieris brassicae, which lays eggs in clusters and feeds on plants belonging to the Brassicaceae family. This study investigated plant-mediated responses to oviposition and their effects on different developmental stages of the herbivore, such as larvae and pupae. Furthermore, the effects of oviposition were extended to four more plant species of the same family, and to higher trophic levels including parasitoids and hyperparasitoids. The experiments were conducted under laboratory, semi-field and field conditions. This study shows that B. nigra plants recognize the eggs of P. brassicae and initiate resistance against subsequent developmental stages of the herbivore. Interestingly, plant responses to oviposition were found to be species specific. Plants did not respond to egg deposition by another herbivore species, the generalist moth Mamestra brassicae. Moreover, most of the Brassicaceae species tested were found to respond to P. brassicae eggs, which indicates that plant responses against oviposition are more common among the family of Brassicaceae. To assess effects on other members of the food chain, the effects of oviposition on plant volatile emission and the attraction of parasitic wasps, such as the larval parasitoid Cotesia glomerata, were tested. It was shown that the wasps were able to use the blend of plant volatiles, altered by their hosts’ oviposition, to locate young caterpillars just after hatching from eggs. The observed behaviour of the wasps was associated with higher parasitism success and higher fitness in young hosts. Similar results were obtained in a field experiment, where plants infested with eggs and caterpillars attracted more larval parasitoids and hyperparasitoids and eventually produced more seeds compared to plants infested with caterpillars only. This study shows that an annual weed like B. nigra uses egg deposition as reliable information for upcoming herbivory and responds accordingly with induced defences. Egg deposition could influence plant-associated community members at different levels in the food chain and benefit seed production. As the importance of oviposition on plant-herbivore interactions is only recently discovered, more research is needed to elucidate the mechanisms that underlie such plant responses and how these interactions affect the structure of insect communities in nature.