Crop resistance traits modify the effects of an aboveground herbivore, brown planthopper, on soil microbial biomass and nematode community via changes to plant performance.

J. Huang, M. Liu, F. Chen, B.S. Griffiths, X. Chen, S.N. Johnson, F. Hu

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

7 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Plant-mediated effects of aboveground herbivory on the belowground ecosystem are well documented, but less attention has been paid to agro-ecosystems and in particular how crop cultivars with different traits (i.e. resistance to pests) shape such interactions. A fully factorial experiment was conducted using four rice cultivars with different insect-resistance, with and without the aboveground herbivore Nilaparvata lugens (brown planthopper), and to test two hypotheses (1) aboveground herbivory affects the soil microbial biomass and nematode community by altering plant performance and soil resource availability and (2) herbivory effects will depend on cultivar resistance traits. Our results suggested that cultivar resistance mediated both herbivory intensity and herbivore effects on plant performance. N. lugens decreased the availability of soil resources (soluble sugars, amino acids, organic acids, dissolved organic carbon and nitrogen), microbial biomass and percentages of bacterivores when feeding on a susceptible cultivar but increased them in a resistant cultivar. However, total nematode abundance and the percentage of plant-parasitic nematodes responded in the opposite way, increasing under a susceptible cultivar and decreasing under a resistant cultivar. The development of plant-parasites under resistant cultivars before aboveground herbivory might contribute to their resistance traits. Our findings provide evidence that N. lugens significantly reversed the pattern of soil resource availability, microbial biomass and nematode community structure (abundance and trophic composition) across cultivars with distinct resistance. In the presence of aboveground pests, the agronomic use of resistant rice cultivars could also control populations of plant-parasites and promote soil resource availability, further extended to higher trophic level of soil food web.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)157-166
JournalSoil Biology and Biochemistry
Volume49
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2012

Keywords

  • experimental grassland community
  • below-ground communities
  • animal trophic groups
  • nilaparvata-lugens
  • food-web
  • nutrient dynamics
  • carbon allocation
  • shoot herbivores
  • rice cultivars
  • root

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