3 years ago

The ecology of predispersal insect herbivory on tree reproductive structures in natural forest ecosystems

Thomas Boivin, Jean-Noël Candau, Violette Doublet
Plant–insect interactions are key model systems to assess how some species affect the distribution, the abundance, and the evolution of others. Tree reproductive structures represent a critical resource for many insect species, which can be likely drivers of demography, spatial distribution, and trait diversification of plants. In this review, we present the ecological implications of predispersal herbivory on tree reproductive structures by insects (PIHR) in forest ecosystems. Both insect's and tree's perspectives are addressed with an emphasis on how spatiotemporal variation and unpredictability in seed availability can shape such particular plant–animal interactions. Reproductive structure insects show strong trophic specialization and guild diversification. Insects evolved host selection and spatiotemporal dispersal strategies in response to variable and unpredictable abundance of reproductive structures in both space and time. If PIHR patterns have been well documented in numerous systems, evidences of the subsequent demographic and evolutionary impacts on tree populations are still constrained by time-scale challenges of experimenting on such long-lived organisms, and modeling approaches of tree dynamics rarely consider PIHR when including biotic interactions in their processes. We suggest that spatially explicit and mechanistic approaches of the interactions between individual tree fecundity and insect dynamics will clarify predictions of the demogenetic implications of PIHR in tree populations. In a global change context, further experimental and theoretical contributions to the likelihood of life-cycle disruptions between plants and their specialized herbivores, and to how these changes may generate novel dynamic patterns in each partner of the interaction are increasingly critical.

Publisher URL: http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/resolve/doi

DOI: 10.1111/1744-7917.12549

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