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Report, 2015

Sex effects of dioecious plants on interactions with insects

Karlsson Moritz, Kim


Bioenergy forestry is a viable alternative to fossil fuels, providing a mean to reduce net carbon emissions and thus our impact on climate change. It is therefore important that bioenergy production is not hampered by herbivory. If plants with certain traits can be chosen to maximize biological control, bioenergy forestry can become an even more potent and sustainable practice. The aim of my project is to investigate what effects sex in a bioenergy crop has on multitrophic interactions and pollinator attraction. Plant sex effects will be investigated using the dioecious Salix viminalis (Salicaceae), commonly grown in plantations in Sweden, Germany, Denmark, Great Britain and a few more European countries. The project will describe how plant sex affects ecosystem services provided by this crop (biological control and pollination), and through that the potential to increase these ecosystem services through selecting or combining clones of either sex. While the results will be easily applied knowledge, my project will also expand our general knowledge of plant sex effects; multitrophic interactions between plants and insects and among insects are barely described. Insect species under study will be a herbivorous beetle (Phratora vulgatissima, Coleoptera), an omnivorous predatory bug (Anthocoris nemorum, Hemiptera), and a parasitoid wasp (Perilitus brevicollis, Hymenoptera). I will use these species in a series of field- and laboratory based experiments. In addition, plant sex effects on pollinator attraction will be tested in the field experiments through observing flower visitation rates and recording berry production in adjacent woodland strawberries, Fragaria vesca. The aim of this essay is to compile (i) an overview of previous work performed on, or otherwise relevant to, plant sex effects on interactions with animals and (ii) necessary information on the study system that I will use in the planned experiments.


Salix; plant sex; trophic interactions

Published in

Introductory research essay (Department of Ecology, SLU)
2015, number: 2015, pages: 18
Publisher: Department of Ecology, Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences

Authors' information

Karlsson Moritz, Kim (Karlsson Moritz, Kim)
Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences, Department of Ecology

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