• Acyrthosiphon pisum;
  • Aulacorthum solani;
  • Vicia faba;
  • climate change;
  • carrying capacity;
  • population dynamics


1 Broad beans (Vicia faba L.) were grown at either ambient (350 μL/L) or elevated (700 μL/L) CO2. Elevated CO2 increased shoot weight by 14% and root weight by 24% compared to ambient, but did not affect flowering.

2 A single pea aphid (Acyrthosiphon pisum (Harris)) and its progeny decreased shoot and root weights by 20 and 24%, respectively, at ambient CO2 after 20 days, but did not affect flower number. At elevated CO2A. pisum decreased shoot and root weights by 27 and 34% and flower number decreased by 73%.

3 A single glasshouse and potato aphid (Aulacorthum solani (Kaltenbach)) and its progeny had no effect on the growth of bean plants after 20 days at ambient CO2. At elevated CO2, A. solani decreased shoot and root weights by 20 and 18%, and flower number by 60%.

4 The large reduction in flowering caused by aphids at elevated CO2 suggests a change in resource allocation within the plants to compensate for aphid infestation.

5 Aphid density was unaffected by elevated CO2, although there were significant effects of CO2 on the resulting population structure of both A. pisum and A solani. We suggest that at elevated CO2, aphids appear not to achieve their maximum reproductive potential and their populations are limited by the lower carrying capacity of their host plants.