Data from: Latitudinal patterns of herbivore pressure in a temperate herb support the biotic interactions hypothesis
Baskett, Carina A.; Schemske, Douglas W. (2018), Data from: Latitudinal patterns of herbivore pressure in a temperate herb support the biotic interactions hypothesis, Dryad, Dataset, https://doi.org/10.5061/dryad.t1715
The longstanding biotic interactions hypothesis predicts that herbivore pressure declines with latitude, but the evidence is mixed. To address gaps in previous studies, we measured herbivory and defense in the same system, quantified defense with bioassays, and considered effects of leaf age. We quantified herbivory and defense of young and mature leaves along a continental gradient in eastern North America in the native herb Phytolacca americana. Herbivory in the field declined with latitude and was strongly correlated with Lepidopteran abundance. Laboratory bioassays revealed that leaf palatability was positively correlated with latitude of origin. Young leaves were more damaged than mature leaves at lower latitudes in the field, but less palatable in bioassays. Both defense and palatability displayed non-linear latitudinal patterns, suggesting potential mechanisms based on biological or climatic thresholds. In sum, observational and experimental studies find patterns consistent with high herbivore pressure and stronger plant defenses at lower latitudes.
National Science Foundation, Award: DGE-0802267 and DGE-1424871