Aphids decelerate litter nitrogen mineralisation through changes in litter quality
Article first published online: 31 JUL 2013
© 2013 The Royal Entomological Society
Volume 38, Issue 6, pages 627–630, December 2013
How to Cite
KATAYAMA, N., SILVA, A. O., KISHIDA, O. and OHGUSHI, T. (2013), Aphids decelerate litter nitrogen mineralisation through changes in litter quality. Ecological Entomology, 38: 627–630. doi: 10.1111/een.12049
- Issue published online: 5 NOV 2013
- Article first published online: 31 JUL 2013
- Manuscript Accepted: 30 MAY 2013
- Ministry of Education, Culture, Sport, Science and Technology of Japan (MEXT)
- Grant-in-Aid for Scientific Research of the Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science, and Technology. Grant Number: B-20370010
- Aphis glycines;
- C/N ratio;
- trait-mediated interaction
Herbivorous insects may have significant impacts on litter decomposition through modification of plant litter quality and quantity. The effects of herbivorous insects on decomposition processes are of growing interest.
Here, experiments were conducted to examine how sap-feeding aphids modify plant litter and whether the aphid-induced modification influences litter decomposition processes, using a plant–herbivore system consisting of soybean [Glycine max (L.)] and soybean aphids (Aphis glycines Matsumura).
First, litter traits produced by aphid-free and aphid-infected plants were compared, and it was found that aphids did not affect litter mass and carbon concentration, but significantly decreased the nitrogen concentration. Such aphid-mediated modification of litter quality may cause deceleration of litter decomposition as the higher C/N ratio inhibits litter decomposition.
A decomposition experiment was then carried out to compare the decomposition of litter between the aphid-free and aphid-infected plants. No impacts of aphid herbivory were found on litter carbon mineralisation but negative impacts were found on nitrogen mineralisation. Litter nitrogen mineralisation of aphid-infected plants decreased by 40% and 28% compared with that of aphid-free plants 1 and 3 months after commencement of the experiment, respectively.
The experimental results clearly showed that aphids decelerated litter nitrogen mineralisation by modifying litter quality.