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Research article - Peer-reviewed, 2015

Direct effects of elevated temperature on a tri-trophic system: Salix, leaf beetles and predatory bugs

Puentes, Adriana; Torp, Mikaela; Weih, Martin; Björkman, Christer


The net effect of climatic change on biotic interactions will depend on how each interacting species is individually affected. Elevated temperatures are predicted to have differential effects on species across trophic levels, due to asymmetric sensitivity to temperature changes. In this study, we examined the direct effects of three temperature regimes (16, 20 and 24 A degrees C) that reflect present and, potentially, future climate conditions on the response of Salix spp. plants, an important bioenergy crop, and its most damaging herbivore (Phratora vulgatissima) and an efficient natural enemy (the omnivorous predator Orthotylus marginalis). We found that plant growth, herbivore oviposition and enemy egg-foraging rate correlated positively with temperature. In the event of elevated temperatures following global climatic changes, these species could potentially respond in tandem. Still, the strength of responses varied among species, with herbivore and natural enemy exhibiting a similar and steeper rate of response relative to plants. Additionally, the herbivore's response was influenced by plant quality with altered oviposition rates depending on whether it was fed the (previously determined) resistant Salix dasyclados or susceptible S. viminalis. This indicates that host plant chemistry has the potential to mediate differential responses to temperature. Together, our results suggest that indirect effects of elevated temperatures, leading to a disruption of trophic associations, may be less likely or less severe in this tri-trophic system.


Climate change; Global warming; Trophic interactions; Pest; Natural enemy

Published in

Arthropod-Plant Interactions
2015, volume: 9, number: 6, pages: 567-575

Authors' information

Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences, Department of Ecology
Torp, Mikaela
Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences, Department of Ecology
Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences, Department of Crop Production Ecology
Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences, Department of Ecology

Associated SLU-program

SLU Future Forests
SLU Network Plant Protection

Sustainable Development Goals

SDG13 Climate action

UKÄ Subject classification


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