Effects of strawberry resistance and genotypic diversity on aphids and their natural enemies
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Ecological theory hypothesizes that plant trait diversity may be as important as the presence of specific functional traits (e.g., resistance) for the herbivore and predator communities within a population. We used experimental populations of wild woodland strawberry (Fragaria vesca) to test whether the degree of plant genotypic diversity and/or the existence of specific resistance traits play a role in the host plant's community structure specifically, the community of generalist and specialist aphids and their natural enemies. In 2019, we studied the aphid abundance and relative predator abundance in an experimental field site in Alnarp, Southern Sweden; the field consisted of plots planted with combinations of 20 different wild strawberry genotypes. These strawberry genotypes were previously identified as either susceptible to or resistant against the herbivorous beetle (Galerucella tenella). Two aphid species, Chaetosiphon fragaefolii (specialist) and the exotic Aphis gossypii (generalist) were found in the plots and of the two species A. gossypii was dominant. The abundance of the specialist aphid (C. fragaefolii) was highest in susceptible plots with high genotypic diversity, while the generalist (A. gossypii) was highest in plots with a mix of resistant and susceptible plants with high genotypic diversity. Anthocorid predators, developed significantly higher population densities in strawberry plots with high genotypic diversity. Overall, predator abundance showed a positive correlation with aphid abundance. These results show that the specific functional trait of resistance as well as plant diversity affected aphids. Knowledge about these effects can be important factors to consider when designing strawberry plantings less susceptible to aphids.
|Status||Udgivet - 2022|
This study was funded by a PhD stipend to the main author from Punjab Chief Minister Scholarship, Lahore, Pakistan. The field experiment was established with funding from Formas ? the Swedish Research Council for Sustainable Development (grant no: 2016-00223) and SLU Centre for Biological Control. Nimra Musaqaf (NM) and Lene Sigsgaard (LS) conceived the idea of the study and placed it in the strawberry field designed by Johan A. Stenberg (JAS) at SLU, Alnarp. NM conducted the field scoring of aphids and predators. The data analysis was done by NM and BM. (BS). Data was interpreted by NM, LS, and BS. Manuscript was written by NM and it was substantially revised with valuable inputs of LS, JAS and BS. All co-authors have read and approved the final version of the manuscript.
This study was funded by a PhD stipend to the main author from Punjab Chief Minister Scholarship, Lahore, Pakistan. The field experiment was established with funding from Formas – the Swedish Research Council for Sustainable Development (grant no: 2016-00223) and SLU Centre for Biological Control.
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