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Plant genotypic diversity increases population size of a herbivorous insect
- Utsumi, Shunsuke, Ando, Yoshino, Craig, Timothy P., Ohgushi, Takayuki
- Proceedings 2011 v.278 no.1721 pp. 3108-3115
- Solidago altissima, Uroleucon nigrotuberculatum, additive effect, genetic variation, genotype, host plants, insects, mortality, plant genetics, population growth, population size, reproduction, synergism
- It is critical to incorporate the process of population dynamics into community genetics studies to identify the mechanisms of the linkage between host plant genetics and associated communities. We studied the effects of plant genotypic diversity of tall goldenrod Solidago altissima on the population dynamics of the aphid Uroleucon nigrotuberculatum. We found genotypic variation in plant resistance to the aphid in our experiments. To determine the impact of plant genotypic diversity on aphid population dynamics, we compared aphid densities under conditions of three treatments: single-genotype plots, mixed-genotype plots and mixed-genotype-with-cages plots. In the latter treatment plants were individually caged to prevent natural enemy attack and aphid movement among plants. The synergistic effects of genotypes on population size were demonstrated by the greater aphid population size in the mixed-genotype treatment than expected from additive effects alone. Two non-exclusive hypotheses are proposed to explain this pattern. First, there is a sourceâsink relationship among plant genotypes: aphids move from plant genotypes where their reproduction is high to genotypes where their reproduction is low. Second, natural enemy mortality is reduced in mixed plots in a matrix of diverse plant genotypes.