INTERAÇÕES ENTRE INSETOS E PLANTAS NO CERRADO: TEORIA E HIPÓTESES DE TRABALHO.

S. P. Ribeiro, G. W. Fernandes

Abstract


In this chapter we explored ecological concepts related to herbivory and plant defences, and their complexity and scientific progress. The number of publications in insect-plant interactions is the highest in ecology from the last 20 years. Nevertheless, the diversity and complexity of insect-host plant systems, as well as its responses to the physical environment, impose serious difficulties in constructing a comprehensive theory that could explain the patterns and processes observed from nature. The most important theoretical models and hypotheses, from Feeny, Rhoades & Cates's theory of plant apparency (1976) were reviewed and commented. In addition, we investigated the theory in front of examples from experimental researches made in Brazil, namely in the Brazilian cerrado vegetation Species distribution patterns and likely ecological and evolutionary mechanisms are discussed, focusing on plant population genetic diversity, resistance and defence against insect herbivory Long term projects are called to generate a kind of data that could be used to overcome the limitations of our knowledge in the subject.


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