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Resource dilution effects on specialist insect herbivores in a grassland biodiversity experiment


Otway, S J; Hector, A; Lawton, J H (2005). Resource dilution effects on specialist insect herbivores in a grassland biodiversity experiment. Journal of Animal Ecology, 74(2):234-240.

Abstract

1. The resource concentration hypothesis predicts that specialist insect herbivores attain higher loads (density per unit mass of the host-plant species) when their food plants grow in high-density patches in pure stands.

2. We tested the resource concentration hypothesis for nine specialist insect herbivore species sampled from a field experiment where plant diversity had been manipulated experimentally, generating gradients of host-plant abundance.

3. The specialist insects responded to varying host-plant abundance in two contrasting ways: as expected, specialist herbivore species were more likely to be present when their host-plant species were abundant; however, counter to predictions, in plots where specialists were present we found strong negative linear relationships between herbivore loads and host-plant abundances - a 'resource dilution' rather than concentration effect.

4. Increased plant species-richness had an additional, but weak, negative influence on loads beyond that due to host-plant abundance.

5. We discuss the implications of resource dilution effects for biodiversity manipulation experiments and for the study of plant–herbivore interactions more generally.

1. The resource concentration hypothesis predicts that specialist insect herbivores attain higher loads (density per unit mass of the host-plant species) when their food plants grow in high-density patches in pure stands.

2. We tested the resource concentration hypothesis for nine specialist insect herbivore species sampled from a field experiment where plant diversity had been manipulated experimentally, generating gradients of host-plant abundance.

3. The specialist insects responded to varying host-plant abundance in two contrasting ways: as expected, specialist herbivore species were more likely to be present when their host-plant species were abundant; however, counter to predictions, in plots where specialists were present we found strong negative linear relationships between herbivore loads and host-plant abundances - a 'resource dilution' rather than concentration effect.

4. Increased plant species-richness had an additional, but weak, negative influence on loads beyond that due to host-plant abundance.

5. We discuss the implications of resource dilution effects for biodiversity manipulation experiments and for the study of plant–herbivore interactions more generally.

Citations

77 citations in Web of Science®
80 citations in Scopus®
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Additional indexing

Item Type:Journal Article, refereed, original work
Communities & Collections:07 Faculty of Science > Institute of Evolutionary Biology and Environmental Studies
Dewey Decimal Classification:570 Life sciences; biology
590 Animals (Zoology)
Uncontrolled Keywords:BIODEPTH project, plant diversity, host-plant abundance, specialist insect herbivores
Language:English
Date:2005
Deposited On:11 Feb 2008 12:28
Last Modified:05 Apr 2016 12:21
Publisher:Wiley-Blackwell
ISSN:0021-8790
Publisher DOI:10.1111/j.1365-2656.2005.00913.x
Related URLs:http://www.jstor.org/stable/3505611

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