The ecology of plant secondary metabolites : from genes to global processes

G.R. Iason, M. Dicke, S.E. Hartley

Research output: Book/ReportBookAcademic


Plant secondary metabolites (PSM) such as terpenes and phenolic compounds are known to have numerous ecological roles, notably in defence against herbivores, pathogens and abiotic stresses and in interactions with competitors and mutualists. This book reviews recent developments in the field to provide a synthesis of the function, ecology and evolution of PSM, revealing our increased awareness of their integrative role in connecting natural systems. It emphasises the multiple roles of secondary metabolites in mediating the interactions between organisms and their environment at a range of scales of ecological organisation, demonstrating how genes encoding for PSM biosynthetic enzymes can have effects from the cellular scale within individual plants all the way to global environmental processes. A range of recent methodological advances, including molecular, transgenic and metabolomic techniques, are illustrated and promising directions for future studies are identified, making this a valuable reference for researchers and graduate students in the field.
Original languageEnglish
Place of PublicationCambridge [etc.]
PublisherCambridge University Press
Number of pages335
ISBN (Print)9780521157124
Publication statusPublished - 2012

Publication series

NameEcological reviews
PublisherCambridge University Press


  • secondary metabolites
  • plants
  • plant composition
  • defence mechanisms
  • disease resistance
  • host parasite relationships
  • ecology
  • genes
  • biosynthesis
  • herbivores

Fingerprint Dive into the research topics of 'The ecology of plant secondary metabolites : from genes to global processes'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

  • Cite this

    Iason, G. R., Dicke, M., & Hartley, S. E. (2012). The ecology of plant secondary metabolites : from genes to global processes. (Ecological reviews). Cambridge [etc.]: Cambridge University Press.