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Data from: Direct and indirect transgenerational effects alter plant-herbivore interactions


terHorst, Casey P.; Lau, Jennifer A. (2012), Data from: Direct and indirect transgenerational effects alter plant-herbivore interactions, Dryad, Dataset,


Theory suggests that environmental effects with transgenerational consequences, including rapid evolution and maternal effects, may affect the outcome of ecological interactions. However, indirect effects occur when interactions between two species are altered by the presence of a third species, and make the consequences of transgenerational effects difficult to predict. We manipulated the presence of insect herbivores and the competitor Medicago polymorpha in replicated Lotus wrangelianus populations. After one generation, we used seeds from the surviving Lotus to initiate a reciprocal transplant experiment to measure how transgenerational effects altered ecological interactions between Lotus, Medicago, and insect herbivores. Herbivore leaf damage and Lotus fecundity were dependent on both parental and offspring environmental conditions. The presence of insect herbivores or Medicago in the parental environment resulted in transgenerational changes in herbivore resistance, but these effects were non-additive, as a result of indirect effects in the parental environment. Indirect transgenerational effects interacted with more immediate ecological indirect effects on Lotus fecundity. These results suggest that explanations of ecological patterns require an understanding of transgenerational effects and that these effects may be difficult to predict in species-rich, natural communities where indirect effects are prevalent.

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McLaughlin Reserve