Defense mechanisms against grazing: a study of trypsin inhibitor responses to simulated grazing by the sedge Carex bigelowii
2007 (English)In: Oikos, ISSN 0030-1299, E-ISSN 1600-0706, Vol. 116, no 9, 1540-1546 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Trypsin inhibitors have been suggested to constitute an inducible defense in the sedge Carex bigelowii, and some former studies suggest that this might be a cause for the cyclic population dynamics in many alpine and arctic small mammals, for example lemmings (Lemmus lemmus). We investigated this further by using a method of simulated grazing (clipping) at different intensities, in three different habitats with varying resource availability, with different harvest times (hours after clipping), and two different stages of ramets (reproductive/vegetative) in a study from the Swedish mountain range. Our results do not indicate that C. bigelowii has an inducible defense constituted by an increase in trypsin inhibitor activity (TIA), but rather that the amount of soluble plant proteins (SPP) is lowered in wounded plants. The responses were somewhat different in the three habitats, with ramets growing in the marsh showing the highest ratio of TIA to SPP, due to low amounts of SPP. We did not find any significant effects of harvest time, or of the stage of the ramet that could support the hypothesis of an inducible defense. To conclude, we could not find any evidence for an inducible defense consisting of trypsin inhibitors in Carex bigelowii ramets, but we did find variations in the amount of SPP that may have nutritional consequences for herbivores.
Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2007. Vol. 116, no 9, 1540-1546 p.
IdentifiersURN: urn:nbn:se:su:diva-24188DOI: 10.1111/j.0030-1299.2007.15481.xOAI: oai:DiVA.org:su-24188DiVA: diva2:196972