Staff Publications

Staff Publications

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    'Staff publications' is the digital repository of Wageningen University & Research

    'Staff publications' contains references to publications authored by Wageningen University staff from 1976 onward.

    Publications authored by the staff of the Research Institutes are available from 1995 onwards.

    Full text documents are added when available. The database is updated daily and currently holds about 240,000 items, of which 72,000 in open access.

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Record number 548897
Title Ecological significance of light quality in optimizing plant defence
Author(s) Douma, Jacob C.; Vries, Jorad de; Poelman, Erik H.; Dicke, Marcel; Anten, Niels P.R.; Evers, Jochem B.
Source Plant, Cell & Environment 42 (2019)3. - ISSN 0140-7791 - p. 1065 - 1077.
Department(s) Crop and Weed Ecology
Centre for Crop Systems Analysis
Laboratory of Entomology
Publication type Refereed Article in a scientific journal
Publication year 2019
Keyword(s) Brassica nigra - competition - functional–structural plant modelling - growth-defence trade-off - herbivory - plant defence - red to far-red ratio - shade avoidance

Plants balance the allocation of resources between growth and defence to optimize fitness in a competitive environment. Perception of neighbour-detection cues, such as a low ratio of red to far-red (R:FR) radiation, activates a suite of shade-avoidance responses that include stem elongation and upward leaf movement, whilst simultaneously downregulating defence. This downregulation is hypothesized to benefit the plant either by mediating the growth-defence balance in favour of growth in high plant densities or, alternatively, by mediating defence of individual leaves such that those most photosynthetically productive are best protected. To test these hypotheses, we used a 3D functional–structural plant model of Brassica nigra that mechanistically simulates the interactions between plant architecture, herbivory, and the light environment. Our results show that plant-level defence expression is a strong determinant of plant fitness and that leaf-level defence mediation by R:FR can provide a fitness benefit in high densities. However, optimal plant-level defence expression does not decrease monotonically with plant density, indicating that R:FR mediation of defence alone is not enough to optimize defence between densities. Therefore, assessing the ecological significance of R:FR-mediated defence is paramount to better understand the evolution of this physiological linkage and its implications for crop breeding.

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