Legacy effects of aboveground–belowground interactions

Authors

  • Olga Kostenko,

    Corresponding author
    • Netherlands Institute of Ecology (NIOO-KNAW), Department of Terrestrial Ecology, Wageningen, The Netherlands
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  • Tess F. J. van de Voorde,

    1. Nature Conservation and Plant Ecology Group, Wageningen University and Research Centre, Wageningen, The Netherlands
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  • Patrick P. J. Mulder,

    1. RIKILT-Institute of Food Safety, Wageningen University and Research Centre, Wageningen, The Netherlands
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  • Wim H. van der Putten,

    1. Netherlands Institute of Ecology (NIOO-KNAW), Department of Terrestrial Ecology, Wageningen, The Netherlands
    2. Laboratory of Nematology, Wageningen University and Research Centre, Wageningen, The Netherlands
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  • T. Martijn Bezemer

    1. Netherlands Institute of Ecology (NIOO-KNAW), Department of Terrestrial Ecology, Wageningen, The Netherlands
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Correspondence: E-mail: o.kostenko@nioo.knaw.nl

Abstract

Root herbivory can greatly affect the performance of aboveground insects via changes in plant chemistry. These interactions have been studied extensively in experiments where aboveground and belowground insects were feeding on the same plant. However, little is known about how aboveground and belowground organisms interact when they feed on plant individuals that grow after each other in the same soil. We show that feeding by aboveground and belowground insect herbivores on ragwort (Jacobaea vulgaris) plants exert unique soil legacy effects, via herbivore-induced changes in the composition of soil fungi. These changes in the soil biota induced by aboveground and belowground herbivores of preceding plants greatly influenced the pyrrolizidine alkaloid content, biomass and aboveground multitrophic interactions of succeeding plants. We conclude that plant-mediated interactions between aboveground and belowground insects are also important when they do not feed simultaneously on the same plant.

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