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Ecology, 78(5), 1997, pp. 13511355 1997 by the Ecological Society of America
 

Summary: 1351
Ecology, 78(5), 1997, pp. 1351­1355
1997 by the Ecological Society of America
THE BENEFITS OF INDUCED DEFENSES AGAINST HERBIVORES
RICHARD KARBAN,1
ANURAG A. AGRAWAL,1
AND MARC MANGEL2
1Department of Entomology and Center for Population Biology, University of California, Davis, California 95616 USA
2Department of Environmental Studies, University of California, Santa Cruz, California 95064 USA
Abstract. Previous explanations for the evolution of induced resistance of plants to
herbivory emphasized arguments based on saving costs when allocations to defense were
not needed; these models met with limited empirical support. We offer a novel explanation
based on induced resistance providing increased variability in defense. As long as maximal
levels of defense are constrained, variability will increase the effectiveness of a given level
of investment in defense. We show that variability can decrease herbivore performance if
herbivore performance is a concave function of the level of resistance. In particular, if
herbivores can choose among different plants and plant tissues, then variability created by
induced resistance may benefit plants under attack and hence may be favored by selection.
The key assumptions of this model are broadly supported by empirical data from many
plant­herbivore systems.

  

Source: Agrawal, Anurag - Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology & Entomollogy, Cornell University
Mangel, Marc - Department of Environmental Studies, University of California at Santa Cruz

 

Collections: Environmental Sciences and Ecology