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Interacive effects of leaf damage light intensity and support availability on chemical defenses and morphology of a twining vine

Journal Article

Gianoli E; Molina-Montenegro MA; Becerra J

2007

Journal of Chemical Ecology

33

95-103

In a greenhouse study we evaluated the effect of the light environment and support availability on the induction of tropane alkaloids (TAs) after leaf damage in the twining vine Convolvulus arvensis. We also tested whether leaf damage modifies the phenotypic responses of the plant to shade and physical support. We found a consistent pattern of induction of TAs after leaf damage in each environmental condition. The induction of TAs was differentially affected by combinations of support and light treatments. In the sun prostrate and climbing vines exhibited similar induced responses. In the shade prostrate vines showed greater induced responses. Thus vines showed the greatest chemical induction when damage occurred in a resource-poor environment (shade) and there was no cue (support) of future increase in resource uptake. Damaged plants showed reduced plasticity to shading in leaf shape and internodes and petiole length in comparison with control undamaged plants. Herbivory and/or induced responses to herbivory may limit adaptive plant responses to the environment. Therefore the negative consequences of herbivory on plant fitness might be magnified in a context of changing environments.

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The Liana Ecology Project is supported by Marquette University and funded in part by the National Science Foundation.