Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Plants discover the benefits of good neighbors in strategy against herbivores

10.03.2010
Mechanism for associational resistance confirms Nordic and Canadian folklore

Scandinavian Scientists have discovered that a species of tree defends itself from herbivore attack by using chemicals emitted by neighbouring plants. The study, published today in New Phytologist, reveals how a species of birch tree adsorbs chemical compounds from neighbouring marsh tea plants, Rhondodendron tomentosum, in a unique 'defence by neighbour strategy.'

The team from Finland, led by Prof. Jarmo Holopainen from the University of Eastern Finland, were conducting studies into emissions of forest and peat land plants when they discovered previously unreported compounds for mountain birch from their foliage emissions. The compounds were emitted by a species of rhododendron growing nearby.

"It is well known that many plant species start to emit chemical compounds after damage by herbivores," said the co-author Dr. Sari Himanen, from Agrifood Research Finland. "In an earlier study we accessed the compounds emitted from mountain birch following Moth feeding damage and we found that some of the trees growing next to Rhondodendron tomentosum also emitted residual amounts of the compounds ledene, ledol and palustrol. This resulted in the idea to experimentally test whether these sticky semivolatiles could actually protect neighbouring birch trees from the attention of attacking herbivores such as feeding moths. Based on experimentation in the field, in a natural habitat and in the laboratory, we discovered that a novel, potentially also ecologically meaningful effect for neighbour-emitted foliage-adsorbed semi-volatiles might take place in a boreal environment."

Plant emissions can have several roles, including the attraction or deterrence of herbivores. Some cause an indirect defence by attracting a herbivorous natural enemy, but it is extraordinary for one plant to benefit directly from another plant's emissions.

The study also seems to confirm Scandinavian folklore which held that rhododendrons can be used to protect clothes.

"In earlier times branches of R. tomentosum were collected and put together with woolly winter clothes for summer storage in the attic," said Professor Holopainen. "Clothes and furs adopted the distinctive smell and were also protected against damage from clothes moths and fur moths."

"Our results show that interactions between species through emissions are a good example of the ecological effects that need to be considered more from a plant community than from a individual plant point of view" concluded Himanen. "Passive adsorption of compounds by a neighbouring plant might be an important, but understudied, way for these compounds to act in a natural environment and could be an important factor in plant fitness and species distribution."

Ben Norman | EurekAlert!
Further information:
http://www.wiley.com

More articles from Studies and Analyses:

nachricht Amputees can learn to control a robotic arm with their minds
28.11.2017 | University of Chicago Medical Center

nachricht The importance of biodiversity in forests could increase due to climate change
17.11.2017 | Deutsches Zentrum für integrative Biodiversitätsforschung (iDiv) Halle-Jena-Leipzig

All articles from Studies and Analyses >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Scientists channel graphene to understand filtration and ion transport into cells

Tiny pores at a cell's entryway act as miniature bouncers, letting in some electrically charged atoms--ions--but blocking others. Operating as exquisitely sensitive filters, these "ion channels" play a critical role in biological functions such as muscle contraction and the firing of brain cells.

To rapidly transport the right ions through the cell membrane, the tiny channels rely on a complex interplay between the ions and surrounding molecules,...

Im Focus: Towards data storage at the single molecule level

The miniaturization of the current technology of storage media is hindered by fundamental limits of quantum mechanics. A new approach consists in using so-called spin-crossover molecules as the smallest possible storage unit. Similar to normal hard drives, these special molecules can save information via their magnetic state. A research team from Kiel University has now managed to successfully place a new class of spin-crossover molecules onto a surface and to improve the molecule’s storage capacity. The storage density of conventional hard drives could therefore theoretically be increased by more than one hundred fold. The study has been published in the scientific journal Nano Letters.

Over the past few years, the building blocks of storage media have gotten ever smaller. But further miniaturization of the current technology is hindered by...

Im Focus: Successful Mechanical Testing of Nanowires

With innovative experiments, researchers at the Helmholtz-Zentrums Geesthacht and the Technical University Hamburg unravel why tiny metallic structures are extremely strong

Light-weight and simultaneously strong – porous metallic nanomaterials promise interesting applications as, for instance, for future aeroplanes with enhanced...

Im Focus: Virtual Reality for Bacteria

An interdisciplinary group of researchers interfaced individual bacteria with a computer to build a hybrid bio-digital circuit - Study published in Nature Communications

Scientists at the Institute of Science and Technology Austria (IST Austria) have managed to control the behavior of individual bacteria by connecting them to a...

Im Focus: A space-time sensor for light-matter interactions

Physicists in the Laboratory for Attosecond Physics (run jointly by LMU Munich and the Max Planck Institute for Quantum Optics) have developed an attosecond electron microscope that allows them to visualize the dispersion of light in time and space, and observe the motions of electrons in atoms.

The most basic of all physical interactions in nature is that between light and matter. This interaction takes place in attosecond times (i.e. billionths of a...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

See, understand and experience the work of the future

11.12.2017 | Event News

Innovative strategies to tackle parasitic worms

08.12.2017 | Event News

AKL’18: The opportunities and challenges of digitalization in the laser industry

07.12.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Midwife and signpost for photons

11.12.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

How do megacities impact coastal seas? Searching for evidence in Chinese marginal seas

11.12.2017 | Earth Sciences

PhoxTroT: Optical Interconnect Technologies Revolutionized Data Centers and HPC Systems

11.12.2017 | Information Technology

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>