The effect of spatial scale on plant associational defences against mammalian herbivores
2008 (English)In: Ecoscience, Vol. 15, 343-348 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Intraspecific variation in plant toxins at different spatial scales can influence foraging decisions by wild herbivores. In order to investigate plant associational defences in relation to spatial scale, we performed an experiment with fallow deer encountering 2 patches of low- and high-tannin hazel branches. One patch was good, consisting of 7 low- and I high-tannin branch, and the other bad, with low- and 7 high-tannin branches. We kept the between-patch spatial scale constant and varied the within-patch spatial scale: the branches in a patch were either spread out or close together in a bundle. When the low-tannin branches were spread out, the deer showed a clear preference for low_tannin branches both patches and consumed similar amounts from low-tannin branches in the good and the bad patch, which means that there was no associational defence. In contrast, when the branches instead were together in a bundle, within-patch selectivity decreased and between-patch selectivity increased, and the low-tannin branches in the bad patch were less eaten than the low-tannin branches in the good patch, which corresponds to associational defence. We conclude that small inter-plant distances can be crucial for the operation of plant associational defences
Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2008. Vol. 15, 343-348 p.
associational defence, associational susceptibility, fallow deer, selectivity, spatial scale
IdentifiersURN: urn:nbn:se:su:diva-15695ISI: 000259841500008OAI: oai:DiVA.org:su-15695DiVA: diva2:182215