Data from: Macroevolution of leaf defenses and secondary metabolites across the genus Helianthus
Cite this dataset
Mason, Chase M. et al. (2016). Data from: Macroevolution of leaf defenses and secondary metabolites across the genus Helianthus [Dataset]. Dryad. https://doi.org/10.5061/dryad.5hq56
Leaf defenses are widely recognized as key adaptations and drivers of plant evolution. Across environmentally diverse habitats, the macroevolution of leaf defenses can be predicted by the univariate trade-off model, which predicts that defenses are functionally redundant and thus trade off, and the resource availability hypothesis, which predicts that defense investment is determined by inherent growth rate and that higher defense will evolve in lower resource environments. Here, we examined the evolution of leaf physical and chemical defenses and secondary metabolites in relation to environmental characteristics and leaf economic strategy across 28 species of Helianthus (the sunflowers). Using a phylogenetic comparative approach, we found few evolutionary trade-offs among defenses and no evidence for defense syndromes. We also found that leaf defenses are strongly related to leaf economic strategy, with higher defense in more resource-conservative species, although there is little support for the evolution of higher defense in low-resource habitats. A wide variety of physical and chemical defenses predict resistance to different insect herbivores, fungal pathogens, and a parasitic plant, suggesting that most sunflower defenses are not redundant in function and that wild Helianthus represents a rich source of variation for the improvement of crop sunflower.