|Interactions between root and shoot herbivores of Ammophila arenaria in the laboratory do not translate into correlated abundances in the field|Vandegehuchte, M.L.; de la Peña, E.; Bonte, D. (2010). Interactions between root and shoot herbivores of Ammophila arenaria in the laboratory do not translate into correlated abundances in the field. Oikos (Kbh.) 119(6): 1011-1019. dx.doi.org/10.1111/j.1600-0706.2009.18360.x
In: Oikos (København). Munksgaard: Copenhagen. ISSN 0030-1299, more
Over the past decades a growing body of literature has presented proof of the possible interactions between foliar and root herbivores. These effects can be positive, negative or neutral in either direction, depending on the species and the involved mechanism. Most of these studies however concern experiments under controlled conditions. Whether these interactions affect the distribution of herbivores under natural conditions still largely remains an open question. This study examined interactions between root feeding nematodes and shoot feeding aphids on Ammophila arenaria in the laboratory. We subsequently addressed the question whether expectations from this experiment are reflected in correlations between plant related variables and the abundance of both herbivores in the field. We demonstrated that nematodes and aphids can negatively affect each other in a controlled microcosm. In the field however no significant correlations between nematode and aphid abundances could be detected. There, shorter plants with a more vital leaf set and a higher root density supported the highest numbers of aphids. Plants with a lower root density and higher root vitality held more migratory endoparasitic nematodes, while more nematode cysts were found among roots with a low vitality. A certain plant property can furthermore affect above- and belowground herbivores in the opposite direction, such as root density in this case. This study suggests that effects of root herbivores on foliar herbivores or vice versa seem to be blurred in a field situation where other variables related to plant vitality and water content structure the herbivore populations. Therefore, caution should be used in generalising the prevalence of these interactions between the above- and belowground fauna, based solely on laboratory experiments.