Soil abiotic factors influence interactions between belowground herbivores and plant roots

Erb, Matthias; Lu, J. (2013). Soil abiotic factors influence interactions between belowground herbivores and plant roots. Journal of Experimental Botany, 64(5), pp. 1295-1303. Oxford University Press 10.1093/jxb/ert007

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Root herbivores are important ecosystem drivers and agricultural pests, and, possibly as a consequence, plants protect their roots using a variety of defensive strategies. One aspect that distinguishes belowground from aboveground plant–insect interactions is that roots are constantly exposed to a set of soil-specific abiotic factors. These factors can profoundly influence root resistance, and, consequently, the outcome of the interaction with belowground feeders. In this review, we synthesize the current literature on the impact of soil moisture, nutrients, and texture on root–herbivore interactions. We show that soil abiotic factors influence the interaction by modulating herbivore abundance and behaviour, root growth and resistance, beneficial microorganisms, as well as natural enemies of the herbivores. We suggest that abiotic heterogeneity may explain the high variability that is often encountered in root–herbivore systems. We also propose that under abiotic stress, the relative fitness value of the roots and the potential negative impact of herbivory increases, which may lead to a higher defensive investment and an increased recruitment of beneficial microorganisms by the plant. At the same time, both root-feeding herbivores and natural enemies are likely to decrease in abundance under extreme environmental conditions, leading to a context- and species-specific impact on plant fitness. Only by using tightly controlled experiments that include soil abiotic heterogeneity will it be possible to understand the impact of root feeders on an ecosystem scale and to develop predictive models for pest occurrence and impact.

Item Type:

Journal Article (Review Article)

Division/Institute:

08 Faculty of Science > Department of Biology > Institute of Plant Sciences (IPS) > Biotic Interactions
08 Faculty of Science > Department of Biology > Institute of Plant Sciences (IPS)

UniBE Contributor:

Erb, Matthias

Subjects:

500 Science > 580 Plants (Botany)

ISSN:

0022-0957

Publisher:

Oxford University Press

Language:

English

Submitter:

Peter Alfred von Ballmoos-Haas

Date Deposited:

09 Jul 2015 08:22

Last Modified:

08 Sep 2015 12:08

Publisher DOI:

10.1093/jxb/ert007

Uncontrolled Keywords:

Drought; induced resistance; moisture; plant immunity; root herbivores; soil texture

BORIS DOI:

10.7892/boris.70156

URI:

https://boris.unibe.ch/id/eprint/70156

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