About this Research Topic
Plant-pollinator and plant-herbivore interactions have traditionally been studied separately. However, plant reproduction is largely dependent on the net outcome of interactions with both herbivores and pollinators, which makes these interactions tightly interlinked. Aside from their direct effects due to tissue consumption, herbivores can also affect plant fitness by influencing plant attractiveness to pollinators. Herbivory can directly alter plant attractiveness to pollinators when the latter actively avoid contact with herbivores feeding on flowers (“pollinator avoidance mechanisms”). Alternatively, herbivory may also indirectly alter plant attractiveness to pollinators via changes in floral traits (size, production, chemical compounds) or changes in phenological synchrony between a plant and its pollinators (“plant-mediated indirect mechanisms”). Despite the importance of this phenomenon, the relative importance of different mechanisms indirectly linking herbivory and pollinators and the overall patterns (i.e. net sign and the strength of indirect effects) describing these interactions remain poorly understood.
Although there is increasing interest in investigating plant-mediated effects of herbivory on pollinators, some knowledge gaps still prevent a complete understanding of these interactions. First, the mechanisms underlying plant-mediated effects of herbivory on pollinators are poorly understood. For example, herbivore-damaged plants frequently produce fewer and smaller flowers or a lower amount or quality of nectar and pollen, and changes in these traits usually render plants less attractive to pollinators. However, herbivory might also have indirect positive effects on pollinators if plants exhibit reproductive overcompensation to herbivore damage. Second, the effects of herbivory on floral-related variables and pollinator abundance or foraging behavior, and ultimately plant fitness, could be contingent on the identity of the herbivore feeding guild and plant tissue damaged. Floral (vs. leaf or root) herbivores are expected to have particularly strong impacts on pollinators because they can exert both direct (interference or repellence) and indirect (plant trait-mediated) effects on pollinators, and also because they affect plant tissues or organs used by pollinators. Finally, studies of plant-herbivore-pollinator interactions are often plant centered i.e. they often concentrate on the consequences for plant fitness. Still, herbivore induced direct or indirect changes in plants are likely to have consequences not only for pollinator foraging behavior, but also for their performance and ultimately fitness. Contributions which focus on less explored areas of plant-herbivore-pollinator interactions are particularly encouraged.
These could be:
- Mechanisms and traits mediating plant-herbivore-pollinator interactions
- Effects of herbivores with different feeding guilds (chewers, sap-feeders, miners), diet breadth (specialists, generalists) and/or targeted plant tissues (flowers, leaves, roots) on pollinators
- Effects of simultaneous feeding by multiple herbivores and/or multiple types of herbivory on pollinators
- Effects of herbivory on pollinators in plant species with contrasting growth forms or functional strategies
- Effects of herbivore induced changes in plant for pollinator behavior, performance and fitness
- Biotic and abiotic factors shaping plant reproductive mechanisms in the context of herbivore-pollinator interactions
- Types of manuscripts: Original Research but also Opinions and Reviews
Please note: abstracts are highly encouraged for Review manuscripts.
Image credit: Bastien Castagneyrol (INRA, France)
Keywords: pollination, herbivores, ecology, interactions, flowers, root, leaf
Important Note: All contributions to this Research Topic must be within the scope of the section and journal to which they are submitted, as defined in their mission statements. Frontiers reserves the right to guide an out-of-scope manuscript to a more suitable section or journal at any stage of peer review.