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Article

The Interactive Effect of Elevated CO2 and Herbivores on the Nitrogen-Fixing Plant Alnus incana ssp. rugosa

Department of Biological Science, University of Manitoba, Winnipeg, MB R3T 2N2, Canada
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Academic Editor: Roberta Masin
Plants 2021, 10(3), 440; https://doi.org/10.3390/plants10030440
Received: 5 February 2021 / Revised: 19 February 2021 / Accepted: 22 February 2021 / Published: 26 February 2021
(This article belongs to the Section Plant Ecology)
Many studies have found that future predicted CO2 levels can increase plant mass but dilute N content in leaves, impacting antiherbivore compounds. Nitrogen-fixing plants may balance their leaf C:N ratio under elevated CO2, counteracting this dilution effect. However, we know little of how plants respond to herbivores at the higher CO2 levels that occurred when nitrogen-fixing plants first evolved. We grew Alnus incana ssp. rugosa was grown at 400, 800, or 1600 ppm CO2 in soil collected from the field, inoculated with Frankia and exposed to herbivores (Orgyia leucostigma). Elevated CO2 increased nodulated plant biomass and stimulated the nitrogen fixation rate in the early growth stage. However, nitrogen-fixing plants were not able to balance their C:N ratio under elevated CO2 after growing for 19 weeks. When plants were grown at 400 and 1600 ppm CO2, herbivores preferred to feed on leaves of nodulated plants. At 800 ppm CO2, nodulated plants accumulated more total phenolic compounds in response to herbivore damage than plants in the non-Frankia and non-herbivore treatments. Our results suggest that plant leaf defence, not leaf nutritional content, is the dominant driver of herbivory and nitrogen-fixing plants have limited ability to balance C:N ratios at elevated CO2 in natural soil. View Full-Text
Keywords: elevated CO2; nitrogen-fixing plants; herbivores; total phenolic compounds; C:N ratio elevated CO2; nitrogen-fixing plants; herbivores; total phenolic compounds; C:N ratio
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MDPI and ACS Style

Chen, H.; Markham, J. The Interactive Effect of Elevated CO2 and Herbivores on the Nitrogen-Fixing Plant Alnus incana ssp. rugosa. Plants 2021, 10, 440. https://doi.org/10.3390/plants10030440

AMA Style

Chen H, Markham J. The Interactive Effect of Elevated CO2 and Herbivores on the Nitrogen-Fixing Plant Alnus incana ssp. rugosa. Plants. 2021; 10(3):440. https://doi.org/10.3390/plants10030440

Chicago/Turabian Style

Chen, Haoran, and John Markham. 2021. "The Interactive Effect of Elevated CO2 and Herbivores on the Nitrogen-Fixing Plant Alnus incana ssp. rugosa" Plants 10, no. 3: 440. https://doi.org/10.3390/plants10030440

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