Interactive Effects of Simulated Nitrogen Deposition and Altered Precipitation Patterns on Plant Allelochemical Concentrations
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Global environmental change alters the supply of multiple limiting resources that regulate plant primary and secondary metabolism. Through modifications in resource availability, acquisition, and allocation, global change is likely to influence plant chemical defenses, and consequently species interactions that are mediated by these compounds. While many studies focus on individual global change factors, simultaneous changes in abiotic factors may interact to influence plant allelochemicals. In this study, we examined the individual and interactive effects of nitrogen enrichment and altered precipitation patterns on chemical defense compounds (iridoid glycosides) of an invasive plant, Linaria dalmatica. Plants were grown from seed in native mixed-grass prairie for 2 years. Nitrogen and water treatments were applied in each growing season over this period. Results indicate that soil water and nitrogen availability interact to shape plant chemical defense concentrations in L. dalmatica. Nitrogen addition decreased iridoid glycoside concentrations by approximately 25 % under reduced water availability, increased concentrations by 37 % in ambient water plots, and had no effect on these chemical defenses for plants growing under augmented water supply. Thus, results show differing patterns of allelochemical response to nitrogen enrichment, with respect to both the magnitude and direction of change, depending on water availability. Our study demonstrates the importance of examining multiple environmental factors in order to predict potential changes in plant chemical defenses with climate change.
KeywordsInvasive plant Iridoid glycosides Climate change Linaria dalmatica (Dalmatian toadflax) Nitrogen deposition Water availability Chemical defense Antirrhinoside Linarioside
We thank A.P. Norton, R.A. Hufbauer, R.L. Lindroth and their associated research groups as well as three anonymous reviewers for comments and suggestions on this manuscript. This work was funded by grants from the U.S. Department of Agriculture AFRI Foundational Program (Award no. 2010-85320-20498), National Science Foundation DEB Program (Award no. 0808473), and US Department of Agriculture-Agricultural Research Service Climate Change, Soils & Emissions Program.