Ecological modulation of environmental stress: interactions between UV radiation, epibiotic snail embryos, plants and herbivores.

Wahl, Martin (2008) Ecological modulation of environmental stress: interactions between UV radiation, epibiotic snail embryos, plants and herbivores. Journal of Animal Ecology, 77 (3). pp. 549-557. DOI 10.1111/j.1365-2656.2007.01352.x.

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The distribution of egg masses of the freshwater snails Lymnaea stagnalis and Planorbarius corneus on the undersides of water lily leaves (e.g. Nuphar lutea) is related to the prevalence of the leaf-mining beetle Galerucella nymphaeae. When given the choice, Planorbarius significantly avoids leaves that were infested by the mining beetle. Conversely, Lymnaea did not discriminate against mined leaves. Intact Nuphar leaves block over 95% of incident ultraviolet radiation. Yet, ultraviolet transmission reaches almost 100% under beetle mining scars. These are several times wider than snail embryos. When exposed to natural sunlight, Lymnaea embryos proved to be resistant to ambient ultraviolet, while Planorbarius embryos were rapidly killed. Thus, one selective advantage of Planorbarius discrimination against mined leaves when depositing its eggs could be the avoidance of ultraviolet radiation passing through mining scars. Other mining-related modifications of the leaves, reduced area, decreased longevity, altered aufwuchs (i.e. biofilm and epibionts) are discussed but seem less relevant for the oviposition preference of Planorbarius. The discriminatory behaviour of this snail species was triggered by water-borne cues emitted by the damaged leaf, not by the eggs or larvae of the beetle. This study illustrates how environmental stress on a given species, ultraviolet radiation in this case, can be ecologically buffered (shading by Nuphar) or enhanced (reduction of Nuphar shading through beetle mining) by associated species. It highlights how the impact of a given stress depends on the identity of the target species as well as on the identity and role of other species in the community.

Document Type: Article
Keywords: Ecology; associational resistance, epibiosis, interaction modulation, ultraviolet radiation
Research affiliation: OceanRep > The Future Ocean - Cluster of Excellence
OceanRep > GEOMAR > FB3 Marine Ecology > FB3-EOE-B Experimental Ecology - Benthic Ecology
Refereed: Yes
Open Access Journal?: No
DOI etc.: 10.1111/j.1365-2656.2007.01352.x
ISSN: 0021-8790
Projects: Future Ocean
Date Deposited: 15 Jan 2009 11:22
Last Modified: 09 Jun 2017 12:25

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