Insect herbivores are frequently reported to metabolize plant defense compounds, but the physiological and ecological consequences are not fully understood. It has rarely been studied whether such metabolism is genuinely beneficial to the insect, and whether there are any effects on higher trophic levels. Here, we manipulated the detoxification of plant defenses in the herbivorous pest diamondback moth (Plutella xylostella) to evaluate changes in fitness, and additionally examined the effects on a predatory lacewing (Chrysoperla carnea). Silencing glucosinolate sulfatase genes resulted in the systemic accumulation of toxic isothiocyanates in P. xylostella larvae, impairing larval development and adult reproduction. The predatory lacewing C. carnea, however, efficiently degraded ingested isothiocyanates via a general conjugation pathway, with no negative effects on survival, reproduction, or even prey preference. These results illustrate how plant defenses and their detoxification strongly influence herbivore fitness but might only subtly affect a third trophic level.
All data generated or analysed during this study are included in the manuscript and supporting files. Source data files have been provided for figures and figure supplements.
- Ruo Sun
- Ruo Sun
- Xingcong Jiang
- Michael Reichelt
- Jonathan Gershenzon
- Sagar Subhash Pandit
- Daniel Giddings Vassão
The funders had no role in study design, data collection and analysis, decision to publish, or preparation of the manuscript.
- Daniel J Kliebenstein, University of California, Davis, United States
© 2019, Sun et al.
This article is distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License permitting unrestricted use and redistribution provided that the original author and source are credited.
Covid-19 lockdowns provided ecologists with a rare opportunity to examine how animals behave when humans are absent. Indeed many studies reported various effects of lockdowns on animal activity, especially in urban areas and other human-dominated habitats. We explored how Covid-19 lockdowns in Israel have influenced bird activity in an urban environment by using continuous acoustic recordings to monitor three common bird species that differ in their level of adaptation to the urban ecosystem: (1) the hooded crow, an urban exploiter, which depends heavily on anthropogenic resources; (2) the rose-ringed parakeet, an invasive alien species that has adapted to exploit human resources; and (3) the graceful prinia, an urban adapter, which is relatively shy of humans and can be found in urban habitats with shrubs and prairies. Acoustic recordings provided continuous monitoring of bird activity without an effect of the observer on the animal. We performed dense sampling of a 1.3 square km area in northern Tel-Aviv by placing 17 recorders for more than a month in different micro-habitats within this region including roads, residential areas and urban parks. We monitored both lockdown and no-lockdown periods. We portray a complex dynamic system where the activity of specific bird species depended on many environmental parameters and decreases or increases in a habitat-dependent manner during lockdown. Specifically, urban exploiter species decreased their activity in most urban habitats during lockdown, while human adapter species increased their activity during lockdown especially in parks where humans were absent. Our results also demonstrate the value of different habitats within urban environments for animal activity, specifically highlighting the importance of urban parks. These species- and habitat-specific changes in activity might explain the contradicting results reported by others who have not performed a habitat specific analysis.
Global agro-biodiversity has resulted from processes of plant migration and agricultural adoption. Although critically affecting current diversity, crop diffusion from Classical antiquity to the Middle Ages is poorly researched, overshadowed by studies on that of prehistoric periods. A new archaeobotanical dataset from three Negev Highland desert sites demonstrates the first millennium CE’s significance for long-term agricultural change in Southwest Asia. This enables evaluation of the ‘Islamic Green Revolution (IGR)’ thesis compared to ‘Roman Agricultural Diffusion (RAD)’, and both versus crop diffusion during and since the Neolithic. Among the findings, some of the earliest aubergine (Solanum melongena) seeds in the Levant represent the proposed IGR. Several other identified economic plants, including two unprecedented in Levantine archaeobotany—jujube (Ziziphus jujuba/mauritiana) and white lupine (Lupinus albus)—implicate RAD as the greater force for crop migrations. Altogether the evidence supports a gradualist model for Holocene-wide crop diffusion, within which the first millennium CE contributed more to global agricultural diversity than any earlier period.