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Interactions between cottonwood and beavers positively affect sawfly abundance

journal contribution
posted on 2023-05-17, 09:22 authored by Bailey, J, Whitham, TG
1. Cottonwood (Populus spp.) are the dominant tree type in riparian forests of the western U.S.A. In these riparian forests, the beaver (Castor canadensis) is a major ecosystem engineer that commonly browses cottonwood, resulting in distinct changes to plant architecture. Here the hypothesis that beaver herbivory indirectly affects the distribution of a keystone leaf-galling sawfly through architectural changes in cottonwood was examined. 2. It was found that: (a) beaver herbivory of cottonwood results in an increase in average shoot length over unbrowsed cottonwood; (b) sawfly galls were up to 7-14 times more abundant on browsed cottonwood than unbrowsed cottonwood; and (c) sawfly gall abundance was correlated positively with changes in shoot length after beaver herbivory. Together these data show that the individual and combined effects of cottonwood and beaver herbivory increase shoot length, positively affecting sawfly abundance. 3. Because herbivores are a ubiquitous component of most ecosystems, we argue that the indirect effects of herbivory on plant quality, and subsequently other herbivores, may be as important as environmental variation. © 2006 The Authors.

History

Publication title

Ecological Entomology

Volume

31

Issue

4

Pagination

294-297

ISSN

0307-6946

Department/School

School of Natural Sciences

Publisher

Blackwell Publishing Ltd

Place of publication

9600 Garsington Rd, Oxford, England, Oxon, Ox4 2Dg

Rights statement

The definitive published version is available online at: http://www3.interscience.wiley.com/

Repository Status

  • Restricted

Socio-economic Objectives

Expanding knowledge in the biological sciences

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