Large herbivores facilitate an insect herbivore by modifying plant community composition in a temperate grassland

Show full item record



Permalink

http://hdl.handle.net/10138/336604

Citation

Li , X , Wang , S , Prather , C , Wan , H Y , Zhu , H , Nummi , P , Inbar , M , Gao , Q , Wang , D & Zhong , Z 2021 , ' Large herbivores facilitate an insect herbivore by modifying plant community composition in a temperate grassland ' , Ecology and Evolution , vol. 11 , no. 22 , pp. 16314-16326 . https://doi.org/10.1002/ece3.8327

Title: Large herbivores facilitate an insect herbivore by modifying plant community composition in a temperate grassland
Author: Li, Xiaofei; Wang, Shengnan; Prather, Chelse; Wan, Ho Yi; Zhu, Hui; Nummi, Petri; Inbar, Moshe; Gao, Qiang; Wang, Deli; Zhong, Zhiwei
Contributor: University of Helsinki, Department of Forest Sciences
Date: 2021-11
Language: eng
Number of pages: 13
Belongs to series: Ecology and Evolution
ISSN: 2045-7758
URI: http://hdl.handle.net/10138/336604
Abstract: Large herbivores often co-occur and share plant resources with herbivorous insects in grassland ecosystems; yet, how they interact with each other remains poorly understood. We conducted a series of field experiments to investigate whether and how large domestic herbivores (sheep; Ovis aries) may affect the abundance of a common herbivorous insect (aphid; Hyalopterus pruni) in a temperate grassland of northeast China. Our exclosure experiment showed that 3 years (2010-2012) of sheep grazing had led to 86% higher aphid abundance compared with ungrazed sites. Mechanistically, this facilitative effect was driven by grazing altering the plant community, rather than by changes in food availability and predator abundance for aphids. Sheep significantly altered plant community by reducing the abundance of unpalatable forbs for the aphids. Our small-scale forb removal experiment revealed an "associational plant defense" by forbs which protect the grass Phragmites australis from being attacked by the aphids. However, selective grazing on forbs by sheep indirectly disrupted such associational plant defense, making P. australis more susceptible to aphids, consequentially increasing the density of aphids. These findings provide a novel mechanistic explanation for the effects of large herbivores on herbivorous insects by linking selective grazing to plant community composition and the responses of insect populations in grassland ecosystems.
Subject: associational defense
community
ecosystem engineering
facilitation
herbivore-herbivore interactions
herbivory
neighboring plants
ASSOCIATIONAL RESISTANCE
PHYTOPHAGOUS INSECTS
SPECIES COMPOSITION
COMPETITION
HABITAT
FIRE
INVERTEBRATES
SELECTIVITY
ORTHOPTERA
VERTEBRATE
1181 Ecology, evolutionary biology
Rights:


Files in this item

Total number of downloads: Loading...

Files Size Format View
herbivore.pdf 1.243Mb PDF View/Open

This item appears in the following Collection(s)

Show full item record