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Keywords:

  • Geographic structure association;
  • herbivore community traits;
  • maladaptation of herbivores;
  • phenotypic association;
  • plant–herbivore interaction;
  • Populus tremula ;
  • untargeted metabolic profiling

Abstract

Plant–herbivore interactions vary across the landscape and have been hypothesised to promote local adaption in plants to the prevailing herbivore regime. Herbivores that feed on European aspen (Populus tremula) change across regional scales and selection on host defence genes may thus change at comparable scales. We have previously observed strong population differentiation in a set of inducible defence genes in Swedish P. tremula. Here, we study the geographic patterns of abundance and diversity of herbivorous insects, the untargeted metabolome of the foliage and genetic variation in a set of wound-induced genes and show that the geographic structure co-occurs in all three data sets. In response to this structure, we observe local maladaptation of herbivores, with fewer herbivores on local trees than on trees originated from more distant localities. Finally, we also identify 28 significant associations between single nucleotide polymorphisms SNPs from defence genes and a number of the herbivore traits and metabolic profiles.