Herbivory changes biomass allocation but does not induce resistance among clones of an invasive plant

Arthropod-Plant Interactions
By: , and 



Inducible responses to herbivores can be either localized or spread systemically throughout a plant. The ways in which clonal plants integrate their response to herbivores among clonal ramets is not well understood. Yet, this is important to understand the impacts that herbivores may have on clonal plants. We conducted a factorial split-plot greenhouse experiment to determine whether resistance is induced among ramets and how biomass allocation changes among ramets following herbivore damage to one of them. We manipulated the presence of two herbivores, Pieris rapae and Trichoplusia ni, and the root connection of ramets of the clonal invasive weed, Lepidium draba. We found local inducible resistance on the ramet where an herbivore fed, but not in neighboring ramets. Biomass allocation shifted in response to herbivores. Feeding by the generalist caterpillar T. ni resulted in a greater belowground biomass relative to shoot biomass in the local plant, but only when the clonal connection was intact. In contrast, herbivores had little impact on the root mass fraction of neighboring ramets. Herbivory to the local ramet increased the regrowth of neighboring ramets that lacked clonal connection, a trend that was driven by the specialist herbivore P. rapae. Herbivores did not induce systemic resistance among ramets of L. draba, but herbivores, especially the specialist, did alter how neighboring ramets regrow after grazing or mowing. Our observations suggest that individual ramets have fairly autonomous responses to herbivores, and that coordination among ramets, when present, may happen via signals that do not depend on root connections.

Publication type Article
Publication Subtype Journal Article
Title Herbivory changes biomass allocation but does not induce resistance among clones of an invasive plant
Series title Arthropod-Plant Interactions
DOI 10.1007/s11829-022-09897-x
Volume 16
Year Published 2022
Language English
Publisher Springer
Contributing office(s) Fort Collins Science Center
Description 11 p.
First page 297
Last page 307
Google Analytic Metrics Metrics page
Additional publication details