Transgenerational effect of inbreeding and herbivory on Manduca sexta caterpillar preference and performance on horsenettle (Solanum carolinense)

Monday, November 17, 2014: 11:12 AM
E141-142 (Oregon Convention Center)
Chad Nihranz , Department of Biology, Pennsylvania State University, University Park, PA
Andrew G. Stephenson , Department of Biology, Pennsylvania State University, University Park, PA
Plants have evolved diverse physical and chemical defenses against herbivores and pathogens.  While some of these defenses are expressed constitutively, others are induced only in response to specificchallenges.  Inducible defenses allow plants to conserve resources in challenge-free environments, and to tailor defense responses to particular antagonists.  Recent evidence indicates that the induction of anti-herbivore defenses in one generation may influence the expression of such defenses in subsequent generations, which might provide progeny with a competitive advantage by conferring adaptations to local environmental conditions.  Research from my lab has explored the effects of population-level processes, including plant breeding system, on plant-insect interactions involving the perennial weed, horsenettle (Solanum carolinense). This work has documented significant inbreeding depression for herbivore resistance in horsenettle and shown that inbreeding can compromise defense gene expression and the induction of physical and chemical defenses.  In this study, inbred and outcrossed genotypes of S. carolinense were subjected to either a damage treatment by Manduca sexta caterpillars or an undamaged treatment and the progeny of these plants were assessed for anti-herbivore defensive traits.  We predicted that the progeny of both outcrossed plants and plants exposed to herbivory will display a greater amount of anti-herbivore defense traits than their inbred and undamaged counterparts.  To test the hypothesis that both inbreeding and herbivory in one generation subsequently affects plant anti-herbivore defenses in the next generation, M. sexta choice tests were used to assess caterpillar preference to progeny from damaged and undamaged plants, and the relative growth rate of M. sexta caterpillars was also measured to assess caterpillar performance on these plants.
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