Interactions between aboveground and belowground induced responses against phytophages

N.M. van Dam, J.A. Harvey, F.L. Waeckers, T.M. Bezemer, W.H. van der Putten, L.E.M. Vet

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136 Citations (Scopus)


Since their discovery about thirty years ago, induced plant responses have mainly been studied in interactions of plants with aboveground (AG) pathogens, herbivores and their natural enemies. Many induced responses, however, are known to be systemic and thus it is likely that responses induced by AG phytophages affect belowground (BG) phytophages feeding on the same plant, and vice versa. The awareness that interactions between AG and BG phytophages may be an important aspect in the evolution of induced responses came only recently and little research has been done to date. In this review we first summarise ecological studies that show how AG phytophages may affect BG phytophages, and vice versa. Then we focus on mechanisms governing interactions between AG and BG induced responses, such as cross-talk between signals. We chose the genus Nicotiana and the family Brassicaceae as two examples of plant groups that have been well studied for their induced responses both AG and BG ¿ but not in concert ¿ and explore how interactions between AG and BG induced compounds may link multitrophic interactions associated with these plants. We propose that future research on AG and BG interactions should focus on: 1). Identification of compounds and signalling pathways involved in AG and BG induced responses and analysis of their interaction mechanisms, 2). Evaluation of how induced responses affect interactions between BG and AG phytophages and their natural enemies, 3). Evaluation of the effects of AG and BG phytophages -in combination with their natural enemies- on plant fitness to identify keystone interactions that are driving the natural selection for induced responses in plants.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)63-77
JournalBasic and Applied Ecology
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2003


  • herbivore manduca-sexta
  • host nicotiana-attenuata
  • extrafloral nectar production
  • arbuscular mycorrhizal fungi
  • jasmonate-induced responses
  • plant-mediated interactions
  • induced gene-expression
  • wound-induced changes
  • brassica-napus
  • salicylic-acid


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