Plant-herbivore coevolution in a changing world


Correspondence: Roosa Leimu, Department of Plant Sciences, University of Oxford, South Parks Road, Oxford, OX1 3RB, UK. E-mail:


Current anthropogenic environmental change causes rapid loss of biodiversity. Although the effects of the main causes of this loss (habitat fragmentation, climate change, and invasive species) on single species have been widely studied, the effects on species interactions are poorly understood. In particular, we do not yet understand how these phenomena affect the evolutionary processes that impact species interactions. Coevolution is a dominant process that organizes the web of life: most species are involved in at least one coevolved interaction. Due to rapid human modification of landscapes it is important to understand how subsequent changes in biotic and abiotic environment and in the level and distribution of genetic variation, as well as changes in population structures, influence the elements of the coevolutionary process. In this review, we synthesize recent development of theoretical work on the coevolution of interacting species with conservation genetics and the impact of anthropogenic environmental changes on single species to address the potential effects of habitat fragmentation, climate change, and invasive species on plant-herbivore coevolution.