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Information arms race explains plant-herbivore chemical communication in ecological communities

Information arms race explains plant-herbivore chemical communication in ecological communities

Zu, Pengjuan, Boege, Karine, del-Val, Ek, Schuman, Meredith C., Stevenson, Philip C. ORCID: 0000-0002-0736-3619, Zaldivar-Riveron, Alejandro and Saavedra, Serguei (2020) Information arms race explains plant-herbivore chemical communication in ecological communities. Science, 368 (6497). pp. 1377-1381. ISSN 0036-8075 (Print), 1095-9203 (Online) (doi:https://doi.org/10.1126/science.aba2965)

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Abstract

Plants emit an extraordinary diversity of chemicals, 1 providing information about their identity and mediating interactions with insects. However, most studies have focused on a few model species in controlled environments, limiting our capacity to understand plant-insect chemical communication in ecological communities. Here, by integrating information theory with ecological and evolutionary theories, we show that a stable information structure of plant volatile organic compounds (VOCs) can emerge from a conflicting information process between plants and herbivores. We corroborate this information arms-race theory with field data recording plant-VOC associations and herbivore-plant interactions in a tropical dry forest. We reveal that plant VOC redundancy and herbivore specialization can be explained by a conflicting information transfer. Information-based communication approaches can increase our understanding of species interactions across trophic levels.

Item Type: Article
Uncontrolled Keywords: Information Theory, Volatile Organic Compounds, Herbivory, Ecological Communities,
Subjects: Q Science > Q Science (General)
Faculty / Department / Research Group: Faculty of Engineering & Science
Faculty of Engineering & Science > Natural Resources Institute
Faculty of Engineering & Science > Natural Resources Institute > Chemical Ecology Research Group
Last Modified: 01 Jul 2020 10:13
Selected for GREAT 2016: None
Selected for GREAT 2017: None
Selected for GREAT 2018: None
Selected for GREAT 2019: None
Selected for REF2021: REF 1
URI: http://gala.gre.ac.uk/id/eprint/27876

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