Effect of elevated CO2 on interactions between the western flower thrips, Frankliniella occidentalis (Thysanoptera: Thripidae) and the common milkweed, Asclepias syriaca

L. Hughes*, F. A. Bazzaz

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

53 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

We measured the effect of elevated CO2 on populations of the western flower thrips, Frankliniella occidentalis and on the amount of leaf damage inflicted by the thrips to one of its host plants, the common milkweed, Asclepias syriaca. Plants grown at elevated CO2 had significantly greater aboveground biomass and C:N ratios, and significantly reduced percentage nitrogen. The number of thrips per plant was not affected by CO2 treatment, but the density of thrips (numbers per gram aboveground biomass), was significantly reduced at high CO2. Consumption by thrips, expressed as the amount of damaged leaf area per capita, was significantly greater at high CO2, and the amount of leaf area damaged by thrips was increased by 33%. However overall leaf area at elevated CO2 increased by 62%, more than compensating for the increase in thrips consumption. The net outcome was that plants at elevated CO2 had 3.6 times more undamaged leaf area available for photosynthesis than plants at ambient CO2, even though they had only 1.6 times the overall amount of leaf area. This study highlights the need for measuring the effects of herbivory at the whole-plant level and also the importance of taking herbivory into account when predicting plant responses to elevated CO2.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)286-290
Number of pages5
JournalOecologia
Volume109
Issue number2
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2 Jan 1997
Externally publishedYes

Keywords

  • Asclepias syriaca
  • Elevated CO
  • Frankliniella occidentalis
  • Herbivory
  • Thrips

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