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Stronger diversity effects with increased environmental stress : a study of multitrophic interactions between oak, powdery mildew and ladybirds

(2017) PLOS ONE. 12(4).
Author
Organization
Abstract
Recent research has suggested that increasing neighbourhood tree species diversity may mitigate the impact of pests or pathogens by supporting the activities of their natural enemies and/or reducing the density of available hosts. In this study, we attempted to assess these mechanisms in a multitrophic study system of young oak (Quercus), oak powdery mildew (PM, caused by Erysiphe spp.) and a mycophagous ladybird (Psyllobora vigintiduo-punctata). We assessed ladybird mycophagy on oak PM in function of different neighbourhood tree species compositions. We also evaluated whether these species interactions were modulated by environmental conditions as suggested by the Stress Gradient Hypothesis. We adopted a complementary approach of a field experiment where we monitored oak saplings subjected to a reduced rainfall gradient in a young planted forest consisting of different tree species mixtures, as well as a lab experiment where we independently evaluated the effect of different watering treatments on PM infections and ladybird mycophagy. In the field experiment, we found effects of neighbourhood tree species richness on ladybird mycophagy becoming more positive as the target trees received less water. This effect was only found as weather conditions grew drier. In the lab experiment, we found a preference of ladybirds to graze on infected leaves from trees that received less water. We discuss potential mechanisms that might explain this preference, such as emissions of volatile leaf chemicals. Our results are in line with the expectations of the Natural Enemies Hypothesis and support the hypothesis that biodiversity effects become stronger with increased environmental stress.
Keywords
COLEOPTERA-COCCINELLIDAE, BIODIVERSITY, FORESTS, PRODUCTIVITY, TEMPERATE, HERBIVORY

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Chicago
Dillen, Mathias, Christian Smit, Martijn Buyse, Monica Höfte, Patrick De Clercq, and Kris Verheyen. 2017. “Stronger Diversity Effects with Increased Environmental Stress : a Study of Multitrophic Interactions Between Oak, Powdery Mildew and Ladybirds.” Plos One 12 (4).
APA
Dillen, M., Smit, C., Buyse, M., Höfte, M., De Clercq, P., & Verheyen, K. (2017). Stronger diversity effects with increased environmental stress : a study of multitrophic interactions between oak, powdery mildew and ladybirds. PLOS ONE, 12(4).
Vancouver
1.
Dillen M, Smit C, Buyse M, Höfte M, De Clercq P, Verheyen K. Stronger diversity effects with increased environmental stress : a study of multitrophic interactions between oak, powdery mildew and ladybirds. PLOS ONE. 2017;12(4).
MLA
Dillen, Mathias, Christian Smit, Martijn Buyse, et al. “Stronger Diversity Effects with Increased Environmental Stress : a Study of Multitrophic Interactions Between Oak, Powdery Mildew and Ladybirds.” PLOS ONE 12.4 (2017): n. pag. Print.
@article{8519027,
  abstract     = {Recent research has suggested that increasing neighbourhood tree species diversity may mitigate the impact of pests or pathogens by supporting the activities of their natural enemies and/or reducing the density of available hosts. In this study, we attempted to assess these mechanisms in a multitrophic study system of young oak (Quercus), oak powdery mildew (PM, caused by Erysiphe spp.) and a mycophagous ladybird (Psyllobora vigintiduo-punctata). We assessed ladybird mycophagy on oak PM in function of different neighbourhood tree species compositions. We also evaluated whether these species interactions were modulated by environmental conditions as suggested by the Stress Gradient Hypothesis. We adopted a complementary approach of a field experiment where we monitored oak saplings subjected to a reduced rainfall gradient in a young planted forest consisting of different tree species mixtures, as well as a lab experiment where we independently evaluated the effect of different watering treatments on PM infections and ladybird mycophagy. In the field experiment, we found effects of neighbourhood tree species richness on ladybird mycophagy becoming more positive as the target trees received less water. This effect was only found as weather conditions grew drier. In the lab experiment, we found a preference of ladybirds to graze on infected leaves from trees that received less water. We discuss potential mechanisms that might explain this preference, such as emissions of volatile leaf chemicals. Our results are in line with the expectations of the Natural Enemies Hypothesis and support the hypothesis that biodiversity effects become stronger with increased environmental stress.},
  articleno    = {e0176104},
  author       = {Dillen, Mathias and Smit, Christian and Buyse, Martijn and H{\"o}fte, Monica and De Clercq, Patrick and Verheyen, Kris},
  issn         = {1932-6203},
  journal      = {PLOS ONE},
  keyword      = {COLEOPTERA-COCCINELLIDAE,BIODIVERSITY,FORESTS,PRODUCTIVITY,TEMPERATE,HERBIVORY},
  language     = {eng},
  number       = {4},
  pages        = {16},
  title        = {Stronger diversity effects with increased environmental stress : a study of multitrophic interactions between oak, powdery mildew and ladybirds},
  url          = {http://dx.doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0176104},
  volume       = {12},
  year         = {2017},
}

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