Data from: Warming affects different components of plant-herbivore interaction in a simplified community but not net interaction strength
Van De Velde, Helena; Nijs, Ivan; Bonte, Dries (2016), Data from: Warming affects different components of plant-herbivore interaction in a simplified community but not net interaction strength, Dryad, Dataset, https://doi.org/10.5061/dryad.d5h06
Global warming impacts natural communities through effects on performance of individual species and through changes in the strength of interactions between them. While there is a body of evidence of the former, we lack experimental evidence on potential changes in interaction strengths. Knowledge about multispecies interactions is fundamental to understand the regulation of biodiversity and the impact of climate change on communities. This study investigated the effect of warming on a simplified community consisting of three species: rosy apple aphid Dysaphis plantaginea feeding on plantain, Plantago lanceolata, and a heterospecific neighbouring plant species, perennial ryegrass, Lolium perenne. The aphid does not feed on L. perenne. The experimental design consisted of monocultures and mixtures of L. perenne and P. lanceolata at three temperature levels. We did not find indication for indirect temperature effects on D. plantaginea through changes in leaf nitrogen or relative water content. However, experimental warming affected the life history traits of the aphid directly, in a non-linear manner. Aphids performed best at moderate warming, where they grew faster and had a shorter generation time. In spite of the increased population growth of the aphids under warming, the herbivory rates were not changed and consequently the plant–herbivore interaction was not altered under warming. This suggests reduced consumption rates at higher temperature. Also plant competition affected the aphids but through an interaction with temperature. We provide proof-of-concept that net interactions between plants and herbivores should not change under warming despite direct effects of warming on herbivores when plant–plant interaction are considered. Our study stresses the importance of indirect non–trophic interactions as an additional layer of complexity to improve our understanding of how trophic interactions will alter under climate change.