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SPECIAL FEATURE Phytohormonal Ecology1
 

Summary: 3
SPECIAL FEATURE
Phytohormonal Ecology1
Essentially all of the energy that flows through food webs is generated by the action of pho-
tosynthesis in green plants. Save decomposition, the conduit from this primary production to the
rest of the food web is via consumption of plants. Where the abiotic environment imposes stress
or favorable conditions, the quality of plants changes, adaptive responses may ensue, and eco-
logical effects ripple through the web of interactions. Given that hormones are universally em-
ployed by plants to coordinate responses to the biotic and abiotic environment, we introduce the
term ``phytohormonal ecology'' to recognize the central role that hormones may have in the
ecology and evolution of species. These often small and simple molecules are now known to
trigger plant immune responses to pathogens and defenses against herbivores, and to coordinate
plant adaptations to environmental stress. Although the lack of mobility and a central nervous
system certainly predisposes plants to rely disproportionately on hormones, hormones are also
gaining attention in animal ecology.
Phytohormones are molecular signals that trigger and regulate germination, growth, devel-
opment, defense, responses to stress, and reproduction in plants. Plant hormones have been studied
for decades, and preexisting knowledge of hormonal physiology provided a strong foundation
from which recent ecological studies have emerged. In the past 20 years, an explosion has occurred
in the number of studies demonstrating the role of phytohormones as fundamental communication

  

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

 

Collections: Environmental Sciences and Ecology