Invasive Species Compendium

Detailed coverage of invasive species threatening livelihoods and the environment worldwide

Abstract

The influence of warming on the biogeographic and phylogenetic dependence of herbivore-plant interactions.

Abstract

Evolutionary experience and the phylogenetic relationships of plants have both been proposed to influence herbivore-plant interactions and plant invasion success. However, the direction and magnitude of these effects, and how such patterns are altered with increasing temperature, are rarely studied. Through laboratory functional response experiments, we tested whether the per capita feeding efficiency of an invasive generalist herbivore, the golden apple snail, Pomacea canaliculata, is dependent on the biogeographic origin and phylogenetic relatedness of host plants, and how increasing temperature alters these dependencies. The feeding efficiency of the herbivore was highest on plant species with which it had no shared evolutionary history, that is, novel plants. Further, among evolutionarily familiar plants, snail feeding efficiency was higher on those species more closely related to the novel plants. However, these biogeographic dependencies became less pronounced with increasing temperature, whereas the phylogenetic dependence was unaffected. Collectively, our findings indicate that the susceptibility of plants to this invasive herbivore is mediated by both biogeographic origin and phylogenetic relatedness. We hypothesize that warming erodes the influence of evolutionary exposure, thereby altering herbivore-plant interactions and perhaps the invasion success of plants.