Journal of Tropical Ecology



Long- and short-term induction of defences in seedlings of Shorea leprosula (Dipterocarpaceae): support for the carbon:nutrient balance hypothesis


Fergus P. Massey a1c1, Malcolm C. Press a1 and Sue E. Hartley a2p1
a1 Department of Animal and Plant Sciences, University of Sheffield, Sheffield, S10 2TN, UK
a2 Department of Biology and Environmental Science, School of Life Sciences, University of Sussex, Falmer, East Sussex, BN1 9QG, UK

Article author query
massey fp   [PubMed][Google Scholar] 
press mc   [PubMed][Google Scholar] 
hartley se   [PubMed][Google Scholar] 

Abstract

The induction of carbon-based secondary metabolites in leaves following damage has been proposed to be a result of a shift in the carbon:nutrient balance, when growth is limited by nutrients in relation to carbon. Here we test this hypothesis using seedlings of a tropical tree, Shorea leprosula (Dipterocarpaceae). In the short term, we analysed the phenolic content of leaves 7 d after damage on seedlings grown under differing light and nutrient treatments. In the long term, we examined the effect of nutrients, over 12 mo, on leaf phenolic concentration and seedling growth. In both the long and short term, levels of phenolics increased in damaged leaves under low nutrient treatments. No changes in leaf phenolics were detected under high nutrient regimes, or in the short term under low light. In addition, it was found that defoliation of seedlings in high-nutrient environments led to greater rates of leaf production than in undamaged seedlings, suggesting compensation.

(Accepted July 23 2004)


Key Words: carbon:nutrient balance hypothesis; compensation; defence induction; dipterocarp; herbivory; Malaysia; phenolics.

Correspondence:
c1 Corresponding author. Email: F.P.Massey@sussex.ac.uk
p1 Current address: Department of Biology and Environmental Science, School of Life Sciences, University of Sussex, Falmer, East Sussex, BN1 9QG, UK.