About this Research Topic
This Topic will present contributions discussing multi-trophic interactions, focusing on interactions between plants, herbivores and natural enemies of herbivores, as well as plants and their pollinators. These relationships are mediated by plant chemistry, and many examples of plant defenses and their effects on specialist and generalist herbivores demonstrate the evolutionary importance of a vast diversity of secondary compounds. Herbivores may be limited by plant secondary metabolites, but they may also successfully metabolize and detoxify these compounds or even sequester them to use in their own defense, processes often accomplished by specialized herbivores. Adding complexity to these already intricate relationships is the third trophic level, consisting of the natural enemies of herbivores. Both highly specialized and generalist parasitoids utilize herbivores as hosts, and again, plant chemistry is often documented as fundamental to these relationships. Plant volatile compounds can act as attractants to parasitoids and predators, advertising the presence of herbivores; volatiles can also deter or attract herbivores, and sequestered defenses can affect parasitoid development. In addition to the more straightforward plant-herbivore-natural enemy interactions, plant chemistry may also mediate indirect interactions between different herbivores feeding on the same host plant, between herbivores and pollinators, pollinators and natural enemies, and even between different types of natural enemies. This diverse array of interactions influences the richness of ecological communities.
This Topic will highlight novel work at the chemical and ecological level as well as present reviews of this rich topic. This collection of papers should become an important resource for chemical ecologists by synthesizing information, presenting provocative new work and suggesting challenging topics for future research in the field. We welcome studies focusing on:
-Plant chemicals mediating and conferring specificity to plant-insect relationships
-Biosynthesis and roles of plant organic compounds in multitrophic interactions
-Mechanisms of detoxification of plant compounds in specialist and generalist insects and effects on higher trophic levels
Mini-reviews, Opinions, Perspectives, Hypotheses, and Original Research articles will be welcome.
Keywords: Multitrophic interactions, chemical defense, chemical signaling, herbivory, metabolomics, parasitoidism, plant-insect interactions, secondary metabolites, volatile organic compounds
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.