Journal Article

Indirect suppression of photosynthesis on individual leaves by arthropod herbivory

Paul D. Nabity, Jorge A. Zavala and Evan H. DeLucia

in Annals of Botany

Published on behalf of The Annals of Botany Company

Volume 103, issue 4, pages 655-663
Published in print February 2009 | ISSN: 0305-7364
Published online July 2008 | e-ISSN: 1095-8290 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/aob/mcn127
Indirect suppression of photosynthesis on individual leaves by arthropod herbivory

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  • Ecology and Conservation
  • Evolutionary Biology
  • Plant Sciences and Forestry

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Background

Herbivory reduces leaf area, disrupts the function of leaves, and ultimately alters yield and productivity. Herbivore damage to foliage typically is assessed in the field by measuring the amount of leaf tissue removed and disrupted. This approach assumes the remaining tissues are unaltered, and plant photosynthesis and water balance function normally. However, recent application of thermal and fluorescent imaging technologies revealed that alterations to photosynthesis and transpiration propagate into remaining undamaged leaf tissue.

Scope and Conclusions

This review briefly examines the indirect effects of herbivory on photosynthesis, measured by gas exchange or chlorophyll fluorescence, and identifies four mechanisms contributing to the indirect suppression of photosynthesis in remaining leaf tissues: severed vasculature, altered sink demand, defence-induced autotoxicity, and defence-induced down-regulation of photosynthesis. We review the chlorophyll fluorescence and thermal imaging techniques used to gather layers of spatial data and discuss methods for compiling these layers to achieve greater insight into mechanisms contributing to the indirect suppression of photosynthesis. We also elaborate on a few herbivore-induced gene-regulating mechanisms which modulate photosynthesis and discuss the difficult nature of measuring spatial heterogeneity when combining fluorescence imaging and gas exchange technology. Although few studies have characterized herbivore-induced indirect effects on photosynthesis at the leaf level, an emerging literature suggests that the loss of photosynthetic capacity following herbivory may be greater than direct loss of photosynthetic tissues. Depending on the damage guild, ignoring the indirect suppression of photosynthesis by arthropods and other organisms may lead to an underestimate of their physiological and ecological impacts.

Keywords: Chlorophyll fluorescence imaging; thermography; plant–insect interactions; spatial patterns; autotoxicity; induced defences; jasmonates

Journal Article.  6418 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Ecology and Conservation ; Evolutionary Biology ; Plant Sciences and Forestry

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