Variation in herbivory-induced responses within successively flushing Quercus serrata seedlings under different nutrient conditions
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Herbivore damage can induce the host plant to alter the chemical and physical qualities of its leaves, which is thought to be a plant strategy—termed “induced response”—for avoiding further herbivory. In woody plants, many studies have considered variation in induced response with resource availability, but few studies have examined this variation in relation to growth patterns of woody plants. We studied the phenotypic variability of induced response within successively flushing Quercus serrata seedlings. Q. serrata seedlings were grown under controlled conditions. The controlled factors were herbivore damage (herbivore-damaged and -undamaged) and soil fertility (low and high). At each flush stage, the concentrations of condensed tannin (CT), total phenolics (TP), and nitrogen (N) in leaves were analyzed, and the leaf mass per area (LMA) was measured. CT and TP concentrations in leaves and LMA were higher in herbivore-damaged seedlings. Leaves of the first flushes showed greater sensitivity to herbivore damage and had a higher CT concentration than leaves of the later flushes. Furthermore, seedlings growing in low-fertility soil showed a greater induced response. The results suggest that the induced response of Q. serrata seedlings was related to the contributions of the tissue to current productivity. Leaves of the first flush showed a greater induced response, possibly because they play an important role in subsequent growth. The potential of Q. serrata seedlings to adjust the properties of leaves depending on herbivory and soil fertility in relation to growth patterns may be advantageous on the forest floor, where seedlings grow in soil of heterogeneous fertility and are constantly exposed to herbivory.
KeywordsHerbivorous insect Induced response Leaf flushing Phenolics Soil fertility
We thank the members of the Kitashirakawa Experimental Station, Field Science Education, and Research Center, Kyoto University, for their support in this experiment. We also thank Professor H. Takeda, Mr. H. Ishii, and Dr. M. Yamasaki of Kyoto University for their helpful advice and encouragement, and all of the members of the Laboratory of Forest Ecology, Kyoto University, for engaging us in useful discussions. This study was supported in part by a Grant-in-Aid for Science Research (no. 13306012, to N. Osawa) from the Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science, and Technology of Japan. This study was also supported by Japan Society for the Promotion of Science (JSPS) Research Fellowships for Young Scientists (no. 17 2313, to E. Mizumachi).
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