Chin J Plant Ecol ›› 2017, Vol. 41 ›› Issue (10): 1033-1040.DOI: 10.17521/cjpe.2017.0073

• Research Articles •     Next Articles

Effects of plant traits and the relative abundance of common woody species on seedling herbivory in the Thousand Island Lake region

Yang-Qing LUO1, Mei-Sheng YU2, Jing-Jing YU2, Shi-Lu ZHENG1, Jia-Jia LIU1, Ming-Jian YU1,*()   

  1. 1College of Life Sciences, Zhejiang University, Hangzhou 310058, China

    2Xin’an River Development Corporation, Chun’an, Zhejiang 311700, China;
  • Online:2017-10-10 Published:2017-12-24
  • Contact: Ming-Jian YU


Aims Plant-herbivore interaction is a hot topic in the study of biodiversity and ecosystem functions. Herbivores can negatively affect seedling growth and therefore can alter the dynamics of plant recruitment. However, previous studies do not fully reveal the relative importance of different plant functional traits on herbivory intensity and rarely link herbivory to the relative abundance of plant species.Methods Here, we measured 11 plant functional traits and the relative abundance of seedlings of 16 common woody species in the subtropical forests on 29 islands in Thousand Island Lake, East China. We then used multivariate regression and variance partitioning to test the contribution of functional traits and the relative abundance to interspecific differences of insect herbivory intensity.Important findings Our study found that both plant functional traits (e.g. carbon nitrogen ratio, leaf thickness) and the relative abundance of woody species played important roles in herbivory intensity, and they jointly contributed 54% of the variance of the interspecific differences. Among these factors, species with higher defensive ability, lower nutrient content and higher relative abundance had lower herbivory intensity. We suggest to consider both individual level traits (functional traits) and community level attributes (the relative abundance) in future herbivory studies.

Key words: plant traits, relative abundance, insect herbivory, woody plant, Thousand Island Lake