Rain downpours affect survival and development of insect herbivores: the specter of climate change?

Cong Chen, Jeffrey A. Harvey, Arjen Biere, Rieta Gols

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

Abstract

Changes in the frequency, duration, and intensity of rainfall events are among the abiotic effects predicted under anthropogenic global warming. Heavy downpours may profoundly affect the development and survival of small organisms such as insects. Here, we examined direct (physically on the insects) and indirect (plant-mediated) effects of simulated downpours on the performance of caterpillars of two lepidopteran herbivores (Plutella xylostella and Pieris brassicae) feeding on black mustard (Brassica nigra) plants. Host plants were exposed to different rainfall regimes both before and while caterpillars were feeding on the plants in an attempt to separate direct and indirect (plant-mediated) effects of rainfall on insect survival and development. In two independent experiments, downpours were simulated as a single long (20 min) or as three short (5 min) daily events. Downpours had a strong negative direct effect on the survival of P. xylostella, but not on that of P. brassicae. Direct effects of downpours consistently increased development time of both herbivore species, whereas effects on body mass depended on herbivore species and downpour frequency. Caterpillar disturbance by rain and recorded microclimatic cooling by 5°C may explain extended immature development. Indirect, plant-mediated effects of downpours on the herbivores were generally small, despite the fact that sugar concentrations were reduced and herbivore induction of secondary metabolites (glucosinolates) was enhanced in plants exposed to rain. Changes in the frequency of precipitation events due to climate change may impact the survival and development of insect herbivores differentially. Broader effects of downpours on insects and other arthropods up the food chain could seriously impair and disrupt trophic interactions, ultimately destabilizing communities.

LanguageEnglish
Article numbere02819
JournalEcology
DOIs
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 16 Jul 2019

Fingerprint

insect development
herbivore
herbivores
climate change
insect
rain
Brassica nigra
insect larvae
Pieris brassicae
insects
caterpillar
Plutella xylostella
rainfall duration
rainfall
rain intensity
glucosinolates
food chain
secondary metabolites
global warming
effect

Keywords

  • climate change
  • development
  • global warming
  • glucosinolates
  • insect herbivores
  • phytochemistry
  • plant–insect interactions
  • rain
  • secondary plant metabolites

Cite this

@article{acde1a7771c54631abd2139ab4198d9d,
title = "Rain downpours affect survival and development of insect herbivores: the specter of climate change?",
abstract = "Changes in the frequency, duration, and intensity of rainfall events are among the abiotic effects predicted under anthropogenic global warming. Heavy downpours may profoundly affect the development and survival of small organisms such as insects. Here, we examined direct (physically on the insects) and indirect (plant-mediated) effects of simulated downpours on the performance of caterpillars of two lepidopteran herbivores (Plutella xylostella and Pieris brassicae) feeding on black mustard (Brassica nigra) plants. Host plants were exposed to different rainfall regimes both before and while caterpillars were feeding on the plants in an attempt to separate direct and indirect (plant-mediated) effects of rainfall on insect survival and development. In two independent experiments, downpours were simulated as a single long (20 min) or as three short (5 min) daily events. Downpours had a strong negative direct effect on the survival of P. xylostella, but not on that of P. brassicae. Direct effects of downpours consistently increased development time of both herbivore species, whereas effects on body mass depended on herbivore species and downpour frequency. Caterpillar disturbance by rain and recorded microclimatic cooling by 5°C may explain extended immature development. Indirect, plant-mediated effects of downpours on the herbivores were generally small, despite the fact that sugar concentrations were reduced and herbivore induction of secondary metabolites (glucosinolates) was enhanced in plants exposed to rain. Changes in the frequency of precipitation events due to climate change may impact the survival and development of insect herbivores differentially. Broader effects of downpours on insects and other arthropods up the food chain could seriously impair and disrupt trophic interactions, ultimately destabilizing communities.",
keywords = "climate change, development, global warming, glucosinolates, insect herbivores, phytochemistry, plant–insect interactions, rain, secondary plant metabolites",
author = "Cong Chen and Harvey, {Jeffrey A.} and Arjen Biere and Rieta Gols",
year = "2019",
month = "7",
day = "16",
doi = "10.1002/ecy.2819",
language = "English",
journal = "Ecology",
issn = "0012-9658",
publisher = "Ecological Society of America",

}

Rain downpours affect survival and development of insect herbivores: the specter of climate change? / Chen, Cong; Harvey, Jeffrey A.; Biere, Arjen; Gols, Rieta.

In: Ecology, 16.07.2019.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

TY - JOUR

T1 - Rain downpours affect survival and development of insect herbivores: the specter of climate change?

AU - Chen, Cong

AU - Harvey, Jeffrey A.

AU - Biere, Arjen

AU - Gols, Rieta

PY - 2019/7/16

Y1 - 2019/7/16

N2 - Changes in the frequency, duration, and intensity of rainfall events are among the abiotic effects predicted under anthropogenic global warming. Heavy downpours may profoundly affect the development and survival of small organisms such as insects. Here, we examined direct (physically on the insects) and indirect (plant-mediated) effects of simulated downpours on the performance of caterpillars of two lepidopteran herbivores (Plutella xylostella and Pieris brassicae) feeding on black mustard (Brassica nigra) plants. Host plants were exposed to different rainfall regimes both before and while caterpillars were feeding on the plants in an attempt to separate direct and indirect (plant-mediated) effects of rainfall on insect survival and development. In two independent experiments, downpours were simulated as a single long (20 min) or as three short (5 min) daily events. Downpours had a strong negative direct effect on the survival of P. xylostella, but not on that of P. brassicae. Direct effects of downpours consistently increased development time of both herbivore species, whereas effects on body mass depended on herbivore species and downpour frequency. Caterpillar disturbance by rain and recorded microclimatic cooling by 5°C may explain extended immature development. Indirect, plant-mediated effects of downpours on the herbivores were generally small, despite the fact that sugar concentrations were reduced and herbivore induction of secondary metabolites (glucosinolates) was enhanced in plants exposed to rain. Changes in the frequency of precipitation events due to climate change may impact the survival and development of insect herbivores differentially. Broader effects of downpours on insects and other arthropods up the food chain could seriously impair and disrupt trophic interactions, ultimately destabilizing communities.

AB - Changes in the frequency, duration, and intensity of rainfall events are among the abiotic effects predicted under anthropogenic global warming. Heavy downpours may profoundly affect the development and survival of small organisms such as insects. Here, we examined direct (physically on the insects) and indirect (plant-mediated) effects of simulated downpours on the performance of caterpillars of two lepidopteran herbivores (Plutella xylostella and Pieris brassicae) feeding on black mustard (Brassica nigra) plants. Host plants were exposed to different rainfall regimes both before and while caterpillars were feeding on the plants in an attempt to separate direct and indirect (plant-mediated) effects of rainfall on insect survival and development. In two independent experiments, downpours were simulated as a single long (20 min) or as three short (5 min) daily events. Downpours had a strong negative direct effect on the survival of P. xylostella, but not on that of P. brassicae. Direct effects of downpours consistently increased development time of both herbivore species, whereas effects on body mass depended on herbivore species and downpour frequency. Caterpillar disturbance by rain and recorded microclimatic cooling by 5°C may explain extended immature development. Indirect, plant-mediated effects of downpours on the herbivores were generally small, despite the fact that sugar concentrations were reduced and herbivore induction of secondary metabolites (glucosinolates) was enhanced in plants exposed to rain. Changes in the frequency of precipitation events due to climate change may impact the survival and development of insect herbivores differentially. Broader effects of downpours on insects and other arthropods up the food chain could seriously impair and disrupt trophic interactions, ultimately destabilizing communities.

KW - climate change

KW - development

KW - global warming

KW - glucosinolates

KW - insect herbivores

KW - phytochemistry

KW - plant–insect interactions

KW - rain

KW - secondary plant metabolites

U2 - 10.1002/ecy.2819

DO - 10.1002/ecy.2819

M3 - Article

JO - Ecology

T2 - Ecology

JF - Ecology

SN - 0012-9658

M1 - e02819

ER -