Climate Change: Resetting Plant-Insect Interactions

De Lucia, E. and Nabity, P. and Zavala, J. and Berenbaum, M. (2012) Climate Change: Resetting Plant-Insect Interactions. Plant Physiology, 160 (4). pp. 1677-1685.

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Elevated CO2 and temperature are altering the interactions between plants and insects with important implications for food security and natural ecosystems. Ecologically, the acceleration of plant phenology by warming is generating mismatches between plants and insect pollinators. Similarly, shifting the rate of plant development relative to insect development can amplify or minimize the consequences of herbivory. Warming also enables some insects to increase the number of generations per year, thus increasing damage to plant communities. The suitability of plant tissues as food for insects also is modulated by global change. Elevated CO2 typically increases the concentration of leaf carbohydrates and in combination with elevated temperature decreases nitrogen content. Together, these changes lower nutritional value, causing herbivores to consume more foliage to meet their nutritional needs. While the responses of primary metabolites in plants to global change are reasonably well understood, how elevated CO2 and temperature affect plant defensive compounds (allelochemicals) is considerably less predictable. Recent studies indicate that exposure to elevated CO2 suppresses the plant defense hormone jasmonic acid (JA) while stimulating production of salicylic acid (SA). By differentially affecting defense compounds, these changes in plant hormones potentially increase susceptibility to chewing insects and enhance resistance to pathogens. Exposure to elevated temperature, in contrast, stimulates JA, ethylene, and SA, enhancing defenses. A deeper understanding of how elevated CO2 and temperature, singly and in combination, modulate plant hormones promises to increase our understanding of how these elements of global change will affect the positive and negative interactions between plants and insects.

Item Type: Article
Additional Information: We thank Scott Woolbright for his thoughtful comments on an earlier draft of this manuscript, and we are deeply indebted to our dear friend Art Zangerl, who passed away recently, for his insights into the world of plants and insects. Received August 1, 2012; accepted September 10, 2012; published September 12, 2012
Author Affiliation: University of Illinois, Urbana, Illinois, University of Buenos Airies
Subjects: Atmosperic Science > Climatology
Plant Protection
Divisions: General
Depositing User: Mr. SanatKumar Behera
Date Deposited: 06 Dec 2012 05:21
Last Modified: 06 Dec 2012 05:21
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