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Individual tree traits shape insect and disease damage on oak in a climate-matching tree diversity experiment

Field, Elsa; Schonrogge, Karsten; Barsoum, Nadia; Hector, Andrew; Gibbs, Melanie. 2019 Individual tree traits shape insect and disease damage on oak in a climate-matching tree diversity experiment. Ecology and Evolution, 9 (15). 8524-8540. https://doi.org/10.1002/ece3.5357

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Abstract/Summary

Diversifying planted forests by increasing genetic and species diversity is often promoted as a method to improve forest resilience to climate change and reduce pest and pathogen damage. In this study we used a young tree diversity experiment replicated at two sites in the UK to study the impacts of tree diversity and tree provenance (geographic origin) on the oak (Quercus robur) insect herbivore community and a specialist biotrophic pathogen, oak powdery mildew. Local UK, French and Italian provenances were planted in monocultures, provenance mixtures and species mixes, allowing us to test whether: 1) local and non-local provenances differ in their insect herbivore and pathogen communities, and 2) admixing trees leads to associational effects on insect herbivore and pathogen damage. Tree diversity had variable impacts on foliar organisms across sites and years, suggesting that diversity effects can be highly dependent on environmental context. Provenance identity impacted upon both herbivores and powdery mildew, but we did not find consistent support for the local adaptation hypothesis for any group of organisms studied. Independent of provenance, we found tree vigour traits (shoot length, tree height) and tree apparency (the height of focal trees relative to their surroundings) were consistent positive predictors of powdery mildew and insect herbivory. Synthesis. Our results have implications for understanding the complex interplay between tree identity and diversity in determining pest damage, and show that tree traits, partially influenced by tree genotype, can be important drivers of tree pest and pathogen loads.

Item Type: Publication - Article
Digital Object Identifier (DOI): https://doi.org/10.1002/ece3.5357
UKCEH and CEH Sections/Science Areas: Biodiversity (Science Area 2017-)
ISSN: 2045-7758
Additional Information. Not used in RCUK Gateway to Research.: Open Access paper - full text available via Official URL link.
Additional Keywords: associational resistance, Erysiphe alphitoides, mixed stands, oak powdery mildew, plant apparency, plant vigor, plant–herbivore interactions, Quercus robur, tree diversity
NORA Subject Terms: Ecology and Environment
Zoology
Date made live: 19 Jul 2019 09:32 +0 (UTC)
URI: http://nora.nerc.ac.uk/id/eprint/523734

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