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Induced Responses to Herbivory and Increased Plant Performance

Summary: Induced Responses to Herbivory and Increased
Plant Performance
Anurag A. Agrawal
Plant resistance to herbivores was induced in a field experiment to evaluate the conse-
quences of induced responses for subsequent herbivory and plant fitness. Induction early
in the season resulted in halving of herbivory by chewing herbivores and a reduction in the
abundance of phloem-feeding aphids when compared with controls. A correlate of lifetime
plant fitness, seed mass, was enhanced by over 60 percent for individuals that were
Herbivores can reduce seed production
and other correlates of plant fitness, and
this reduction can result in natural selec-
tion for either constitutively expressed or
inducible plant defenses (1, 2). Induced
plant responses to herbivory are "immune-
like" responses that reduce the perfor-
mance or preference of herbivores (or
both) and have been reported from over
100 plant-herbivore systems (2). These
responses are assumed to benefit plants,


Source: Agrawal, Anurag - Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology & Entomollogy, Cornell University


Collections: Environmental Sciences and Ecology