The effect of temperature on insect-plant interactions in the face of changing climate is complex as the plant, its herbivores and their interactions are usually affected differentially leading to an asymmetry in response. Using experimental warming and a combination of biochemical and herbivory bioassays, the effects of elevated temperatures and herbivore damage (Helicoverpa zea) on resistance and tolerance traits of Solanum lycopersicum var. Better boy (tomato), as well as herbivory performance and salivary defense elicitors were examined. Insects and plants were differentially sensitive towards warming within the experimental temperature range. Herbivore growth rate increased with temperature, whereas plants growth as well as the ability to tolerate stress measured by photosynthesis recovery and regrowth ability were compromised at the highest temperature regime. In particular, temperature influenced the caterpillars’ capacity to induce plant defenses due to changes in the amount of a salivary defense elicitor, glucose oxidase (GOX). This was further complexed by the temperature effects on plant inducibility, which was significantly enhanced at an above-optimum temperature; this paralleled with an increased plants resistance to herbivory but significantly varied between previously damaged and undamaged leaves. Elevated temperatures produced asymmetry in species’ responses and changes in the relationship among species, indicating a more complicated response under a climate change scenario.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics