Mycorrhizal‐mediated plant–herbivore interactions in a high CO2 world

Frew, Adam and Price, Jodi N. (2019) Mycorrhizal‐mediated plant–herbivore interactions in a high CO2 world. Functional Ecology, 33 (8). pp. 1376-1385. ISSN 0269-8463


The symbiotic relationship between terrestrial plants and arbuscular mycorrhizal (AM) fungi is a key driver of plant nutritional and defence traits influencing insect herbivory. These tripartite interactions have been fundamental to shaping the evolution of land plants and the diversity of insect herbivores. Surprisingly, we have little understanding of how these interactions will function under elevated atmospheric CO2 concentrations (eCO2), despite the considerable implications for both natural and managed ecosystems.

Although substantial research has revealed how eCO2 alters mycorrhizal–plant interactions, or plant–herbivore interactions, there is a stark scarcity of studies which investigate how eCO2 impacts mycorrhizal‐mediated plant–insect herbivore relationships.

Here, we synthesise some of the main effects of eCO2 on the mycorrhizal symbiosis, the concomitant impacts on plant nutrient dynamics and secondary metabolism, and how eCO2‐driven changes in plant growth, biochemistry and communities impact insect herbivores.

We point out that potential mechanistic drivers of AM fungal–plant–insect herbivore relationships under eCO2 can function antagonistically and are highly context‐dependent, which poses a particular challenge. Still, we hypothesise as to the potential outcomes for AM fungal–plant–herbivore dynamics under eCO2.

We identify key research priorities to tackle the substantial gap in our understanding. If ecological theory is to effectively inform agricultural and natural management practices in the future, research needs to directly investigate how changes in global atmospheric CO2 concentrations impact the tripartite relationship between AM fungi, plants and insect herbivores.

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Item Type: Article (Commonwealth Reporting Category C)
Refereed: Yes
Item Status: Live Archive
Additional Information: Permanent restricted access to Published version, in accordance with the copyright policy of the publisher.
Faculty/School / Institute/Centre: No Faculty
Faculty/School / Institute/Centre: No Faculty
Date Deposited: 20 Nov 2019 04:39
Last Modified: 20 Nov 2019 06:11
Uncontrolled Keywords: mycorrhizal‐mediated plants, insect herbivores, relationship
Fields of Research (2008): 06 Biological Sciences > 0607 Plant Biology > 060799 Plant Biology not elsewhere classified
06 Biological Sciences > 0605 Microbiology > 060504 Microbial Ecology
05 Environmental Sciences > 0501 Ecological Applications > 050101 Ecological Impacts of Climate Change
Fields of Research (2020): 31 BIOLOGICAL SCIENCES > 3108 Plant biology > 310899 Plant biology not elsewhere classified
31 BIOLOGICAL SCIENCES > 3107 Microbiology > 310703 Microbial ecology
41 ENVIRONMENTAL SCIENCES > 4101 Climate change impacts and adaptation > 410102 Ecological impacts of climate change and ecological adaptation
Socio-Economic Objectives (2008): D Environment > 96 Environment > 9608 Flora, Fauna and Biodiversity > 960899 Flora, Fauna and Biodiversity of Environments not elsewhere classified
D Environment > 96 Environment > 9603 Climate and Climate Change > 960305 Ecosystem Adaptation to Climate Change
D Environment > 96 Environment > 9604 Control of Pests, Diseases and Exotic Species > 960499 Control of Pests, Diseases and Exotic Species not elsewhere classified
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