Complexity of plant volatile-mediated interactions beyond the third trophic level

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterAcademicpeer-review


Food chains of plant-associated communities typically reach beyond three trophic levels. The predators and parasitoids in the third trophic level are under attack by top predators or parasitised by hyperparasitoids. These higher trophic level organisms respond to plant volatiles in search of their prey or host. Thereby, plant volatiles affect community processes such as competition and intraguild predation among predators and parasitoids at the terminal end of the food chain. The response of fourth trophic level organisms to plant volatiles potentially reduces the benefit of these volatiles as indirect defence for the plant. In the application of parasitoids as biological control agents of herbivore pests, hyperparasitoids may diminish the effectiveness of parasitoids. Detailed understanding of the use of plant odours by hyperparasitoids may provide tools to further optimise biological control.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationDeciphering chemical language of plant communication
EditorsJames D. Blande, Robert Glinwood
Place of PublicationCham
PublisherSpringer International Publishing Switzerland
ISBN (Electronic)9783319334981
ISBN (Print)9783319334967
Publication statusPublished - 2016

Publication series

NameSignaling and Communication in Plants
ISSN (Print)1867-9048
ISSN (Electronic)1867-9056


  • 016-3967


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