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Circum-Arctic distribution of chemical anti-herbivore compounds suggests biome-wide trade-off in defence strategies in Arctic shrubs

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DOI

  • Elin Lindén, Umeå University
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  • Mariska te Beest, Utrecht University, Nelson Mandela University
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  • Ilka Aubreu, University of Göttingen, Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences
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  • Thomas Moritz, Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences
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  • Maja K. Sundqvist, Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences
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  • Isabel C. Barrio, Agricultural University of Iceland
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  • Julia Boike, Alfred Wegener Institute - Helmholtz Centre for Polar and Marine Research, Humboldt University of Berlin
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  • John P. Bryant, University of Alaska Fairbanks
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  • Kari Anne Bråthen, UiT The Arctic University of Norway
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  • Agata Buchwal, Adam Mickiewicz University in Poznan
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  • C. Guillermo Bueno, University of Tartu
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  • Alain Currier, University of Montreal
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  • Dagmar D. Egelkraut, University of Bergen
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  • Bruce C. Forbes, University of Lapland
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  • Martin Hallinger, University of Greifswald
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  • Monique Heijmans, Wageningen University & Research
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  • Luise Hermanutz, Memorial University of Newfoundland
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  • David S. Hik, Simon Fraser University
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  • Annika Hofgaard, Norwegian Institute for Nature Research
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  • Milena Holmgren, Wageningen University & Research
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  • Diane C. Huebner, University of Alaska Fairbanks
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  • Toke T. Høye
  • Ingibjörg S. Jónsdóttir, University of Iceland
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  • Elina Kaarlejärvi, University of Helsinki
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  • Emilie Kissler, Memorial University of Newfoundland
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  • Timo Kumpula, University of Eastern Finland
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  • Juul Limpens, Wageningen University & Research, Plant Ecology and Nature Conservation Group
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  • Isla H. Myers-Smith, University of Edinburgh
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  • Signe Normand
  • Eric Post, University of California at Davis
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  • Adrian V. Rocha, University of Notre Dame
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  • Niels Martin Schmidt
  • Anna Skarin, Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences
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  • Eeva M. Soininen, UiT The Arctic University of Norway
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  • Aleksandr Sokolov, RAS - Institute of Plant and Animal Ecology, Ural Branch
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  • Natalia Sokolova, RAS - Institute of Plant and Animal Ecology, Ural Branch
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  • James D.M. Speed, Norwegian University of Science and Technology
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  • Lorna Street, University of Edinburgh
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  • Nikita Tananaev, RAS - Melnikov Permafrost Institute, Siberian Branch
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  • Jean Pierre Tremblay, Université Laval
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  • Christine Urbanowicz, Dartmouth College
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  • David A. Watts, Division of Public Health
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  • Heike Zimmermann, Alfred Wegener Institute - Helmholtz Centre for Polar and Marine Research
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  • Johan Olofsson, Umeå University

Spatial variation in plant chemical defence towards herbivores can help us understand variation in herbivore top–down control of shrubs in the Arctic and possibly also shrub responses to global warming. Less defended, non-resinous shrubs could be more influenced by herbivores than more defended, resinous shrubs. However, sparse field measurements limit our current understanding of how much of the circum-Arctic variation in defence compounds is explained by taxa or defence functional groups (resinous/non-resinous). We measured circum-Arctic chemical defence and leaf digestibility in resinous (Betula glandulosa, B. nana ssp. exilis) and non-resinous (B. nana ssp. nana, B. pumila) shrub birches to see how they vary among and within taxa and functional groups. Using liquid chromatography–mass spectrometry (LC–MS) metabolomic analyses and in vitro leaf digestibility via incubation in cattle rumen fluid, we analysed defence composition and leaf digestibility in 128 samples from 44 tundra locations. We found biogeographical patterns in anti-herbivore defence where mean leaf triterpene concentrations and twig resin gland density were greater in resinous taxa and mean concentrations of condensing tannins were greater in non-resinous taxa. This indicates a biome-wide trade-off between triterpene- or tannin-dominated defences. However, we also found variations in chemical defence composition and resin gland density both within and among functional groups (resinous/non-resinous) and taxa, suggesting these categorisations only partly predict chemical herbivore defence. Complex tannins were the only defence compounds negatively related to in vitro digestibility, identifying this previously neglected tannin group as having a potential key role in birch anti-herbivore defence. We conclude that circum-Arctic variation in birch anti-herbivore defence can be partly derived from biogeographical distributions of birch taxa, although our detailed mapping of plant defence provides more information on this variation and can be used for better predictions of herbivore effects on Arctic vegetation.

OriginalsprogEngelsk
Artikelnummere06166
TidsskriftEcography
Vol/bind2002
Nummer11
ISSN0906-7590
DOI
StatusUdgivet - nov. 2022

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© 2022 The Authors. Ecography published by John Wiley & Sons Ltd on behalf of Nordic Society Oikos.

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