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Herbivory and time since flowering shape floral rewards and pollinator-pathogen interactions

Herbivory and time since flowering shape floral rewards and pollinator-pathogen interactions

Aguirre, Luis A., Davis, Julie K., Stevenson, Philip C. ORCID: 0000-0002-0736-3619 and Adler, Lynn S. (2020) Herbivory and time since flowering shape floral rewards and pollinator-pathogen interactions. Journal of Chemical Ecology, 46 (10). pp. 978-986. ISSN 0098-0331 (Print), 1573-1561 (Online) (doi:https://doi.org/10.1007/s10886-020-01213-2)

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Abstract

Herbivory can induce chemical changes throughout plant tissues including flowers, which could affect pollinator-pathogen interactions. Pollen is highly defended compared to nectar, but no study has examined whether herbivory affects pollen chemistry. We assessed the effects of leaf herbivory on nectar and pollen alkaloids in Nicotiana tabacum, and how herbivory-induced changes in nectar and pollen affect pollinator-pathogen interactions. We damaged leaves of Nicotiana tabacum using the specialist herbivore Manduca sexta and compared nicotine and anabasine concentrations in nectar and pollen. We then pooled nectar and pollen by collection periods (within and after one month of flowering), fed them in separate experiments to bumble bees (Bombus impatiens) infected with the gut pathogen Crithidia bombi, and assessed infections after seven days. We did not detect alkaloids in nectar, and leaf damage did not alter the effect of nectar on Crithidia counts. In pollen, herbivory induced higher concentrations of anabasine but not nicotine, and alkaloid concentrations rose and then fell as a function of days since flowering. Bees fed pollen from damaged plants had Crithidia counts 15 times higher than bees fed pollen from undamaged plants, but only when pollen was collected after one month of flowering, indicating that both damage and time since flowering affected interaction outcomes. Within undamaged treatments, bees fed late-collected pollen had Crithidia counts 10 times lower than bees fed early-collected pollen, also indicating the importance of time since flowering. Our results emphasize the role of herbivores in shaping pollen chemistry, with consequences for interactions between pollinators and their pathogens.

Item Type: Article
Uncontrolled Keywords: Bombus impatiens, Crithidia bombi, Floral chemistry, Multitrophic interactions, Pollinators
Subjects: S Agriculture > S Agriculture (General)
S Agriculture > SB Plant culture
Faculty / Department / Research Group: Faculty of Engineering & Science
Faculty of Engineering & Science > Natural Resources Institute
Faculty of Engineering & Science > Natural Resources Institute > Agriculture, Health & Environment Department
Faculty of Engineering & Science > Natural Resources Institute > Chemical Ecology Research Group
Last Modified: 03 Sep 2021 01:38
Selected for GREAT 2016: None
Selected for GREAT 2017: None
Selected for GREAT 2018: None
Selected for GREAT 2019: None
Selected for REF2021: None
URI: http://gala.gre.ac.uk/id/eprint/29490

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