Silene floral and deterrent signals (FLORDETERSIGNALS)
Silene floral and deterrent signals
Start date: Oct 1, 2007,
End date: Sep 30, 2010
"Globalization has resulted in the transport of species around the world. Humans have removed many of the typical barriers and have increased the movement of species overall. Among these transported species, some have been identified as having substantial negative economic ecological impacts. Protecting crops against insect pest using environmental-friendly practices is a growing concern in Europe. This concern led the European commission to re-evaluate and limit the use of pesticides on all crops. Biological control agents have the potential to significantly reduce pest populations. The main research idea for this project is to look at herbivore iduced floral odor changes and their evolutionary dynamics in Silene. This is of special inerest since in this plant, one of the main herbivores is also a pollinator (Hadena bicruris). Thus there should be a fundamental trade-off for the plant, either to invest in pollinator attraction, or avoid herbivore attack. The net impact of Hadena on the fitness of Silene depends on the availability of other pollinators. If co-pollinators are frequent and efficient, Hadena will act as an antagonist, but if co-pollinators are missing, Hadena will be a synergist. In this project, the applicant proposes to analyze volatiles released by Silene plants in response to Hadena seed consumption, and compares these induced responses in multiple populations, to learn about evolutionary dynamics of this system. The applicant suggests focusing more on the evolutionary side of the story. One of the main question is how do induced responses in plants evolve, and how flexible is this system? This is quite a novel question, and it has not at all been introduced in pest management. In this project, the applicant proposes to analyze volatiles released by Silene plants in response to Hadena seed consumption, and compares these induced responses in multiple populations, to learn about evolutionary dynamics of this system."
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