THE POTENTIAL OF PLANTS TO MEDIATE THE INTERACTION BETWEEN HERBIVORY AND POLLINATION

Luiz Rezende, Martín Pareja

Abstract


Herbivory may affect important plant traits that mediate the interaction with floral visitors and potential pollinators with consequences to fruit and seed production. These may occur through varied mechanisms, ranging from a trade-off in resource allocation for defense and reproduction, to pleiotropic effects in the biosynthesis of secondary compounds for plant defense and floral attractiveness. The subject has been receiving attention and is leading to new perspectives in the study of ecology and evolution of insect-plant interactions. Here our main goal is to briefly review the scientific literature and discuss theoretical aspects of plant mediation of interactions between herbivores and pollinators. We conducted an extensive but non-systematic search for literature on the main theme “effects of herbivory on floral visitors and pollination”. We found experimental studies and reviews reporting that foliar and floral herbivory usually change floral traits that mediate plant-pollinator interactions. The effect of herbivores on floral visitation tend to be neutral or negative, and does not always lead to negative impacts on seed production. These results open a path for new hypotheses on how plants may avoid or compensate for possible ecological costs of herbivory. We suggest that future studies should explore finer mechanisms through which herbivory affects pollination by considering natural history, pollination effectiveness, and the chemical background upon which flowers are presented to pollinators. Such studies will improve our understanding of how indirect effects structure ecological communities and their role in the evolution of plant-animal interactions.


Keywords


floral traits; herbivory costs; induced responses; pollinator attraction; trait-mediated indirect interactions

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References


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DOI: https://doi.org/10.4257/oeco.2018.2204.01

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