3 years ago

Phenology-dependent variation in the non-structural carbohydrates of broadleaf evergreen species plays an important role in determining tolerance to defoliation (or herbivory)

Yongxin Dai, Lin Wang, Shirong Liu, Zhicheng Chen, Xianchong Wan
Two broadleaf evergreen canopy species (Schima superba and Engelhardia roxburghiana) with different phenologies in a subtropical region of southern China were used to determine the influence of leaf phenology on the impact of an insect pest attack. S. superba regenerates its leaves in February, while E. roxburghiana regenerates its leaves in May. The moth Thalassodes quadraria attacked the two broadleaf evergreen species in March to April, and the newly produced leaves were removed for S. superba but not for E. roxburghiana. The young trees were artificially defoliated to imitate an insect pest attack during March 2014. Nonstructural carbohydrate (NSC) and growth measurements and a retrospective analysis based on the radial growth of mature trees were conducted in January 2015. The results showed that NSC concentrations decreased in S. superba during canopy rebuilding, and the subsequent defoliation severely inhibited leaf and shoot growth, prevented NSC restoration in roots and stem xylem, and caused high mortality. The insect outbreaks reduced the radial growth of S. superba. In contrast, E. roxburghiana experienced less growth retardation, lower mortality, and normal radial growth. Thus, taking phenology-dependent variation in NSCs into consideration, defoliation and insect pest outbreaks more negatively impacted S. superba than E. roxburghiana.

Publisher URL: https://www.nature.com/articles/s41598-017-09757-2

DOI: 10.1038/s41598-017-09757-2

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