Percentage leaf herbivory across vascular plant species

Abstract : Herbivory is viewed as a major driver of plant evolution and the mostimportant energy pathway from plants to higher trophic levels. Therefore, understandingpatterns of herbivory on plants remains a key focus in evolution and ecology. Theevolutionary impacts of leaf herbivory include altering plant fitness, local adaptation, theevolution of defenses, and the diversification of plants as well as natural enemies. Leafherbivory also impacts ecological processes such as plant productivity, communitycomposition, and ecosystem nutrient cycling. Understanding the impact of herbivory onthese ecological and evolutionary processes requires species-specific, as opposed tocommunity-level, measures of herbivory. In addition, species-specific data enables the use ofmodern comparative methods to account for phylogenetic non-independence. Althoughhundreds of studies have measured natural rates of leaf consumption, we are unaware of anyaccessible compilation of these data. We created such a data set to provide the raw dataneeded to test general hypotheses relating to plant–herbivore interactions and to test theinfluence of biotic and abiotic factors on herbivory rates across large spatial scales. A largerepository will make this endeavor more efficient and robust. In total, we compiled 2641population-level measures for either annual or daily rates of leaf herbivory across 1145 speciesof vascular plants collected from 189 studies. All damage measures represent naturaloccurrences of herbivory that span numerous angiosperm, gymnosperm, and fern species. Toenable researchers to explore the causes of variation in herbivory and how these mightinteract, we added information about the study sites including: geolocation, climateclassification, habitat descriptions (e.g., seashore, grassland, forest, agricultural fields), andplant trait information concerning growth form and duration (e.g., annual vs. perennial). Wealso included extensive details of the methodology used to measure leaf damage, includingseasons and months of sampling, age of leaves, and the method used to estimate percentagearea missing. We anticipate that these data will make it possible to test important hypothesesin the plant–herbivore literature, including the plant apparency hypothesis, the latitudinalherbivorydefense hypothesis, the resource availability hypothesis, and the macroevolutionaryescalation of defense hypothesis.
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Martin M. Turcotte, Christina J. M. Thomsen, Geoffrey T. Broadhead, Paul V. A. Fine, Ryan M. Godfrey, et al.. Percentage leaf herbivory across vascular plant species. Ecology, Ecological Society of America, 2014, 95 (3), pp.788-788. ⟨10.1890/13-1741.1⟩. ⟨hal-01601627⟩

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