About OpenKnowledge@NAU | For NAU Authors

Overcompensation in response to mammalian herbivory: The advantage of being eaten

Paige, Ken N. and Whitham, Thomas G. (1987) Overcompensation in response to mammalian herbivory: The advantage of being eaten. American Naturalist, 129 (3). pp. 407-416. ISSN 0003-0147


Download (618kB) | Preview
Publisher’s or external URL: http://dx.doi.org/10.1086/284645


Plants of scarlet gilia, Ipomopsis aggregata, are exposed to high levels of mammalian herbivory (by mule deer, Odocoileus hemionus, and elk, Cervus elaphus) early in the season, before flowering. During the period of this study, up to 56% of all individuals experienced a 95% reduction in aboveground biomass. Browsed plants rapidly responded by producing new inflorescences and flowering within 3 weeks. Unbrowsed plants produced only single inflorescences, whereas browsed plants produced multiple inflorescences. Field observations and experimental manipulations showed that plants with multiple inflorescences produced significantly greater numbers of flowers and fruits than unbrowsed individuals. There was no difference in between browsed and unbrowsed individuals in the number of seeds produced per fruit, seed weight, subsequent germination success, and survival. Relative fitness, in terms of seed production and subsequent seeding survival, averages 2.4 times that of the uneaten controls. The authors conclude that under natural field conditions plants can benefit from the effects of herbivory.

Item Type: Article
Publisher’s Statement: Copyright 1987 by The University of Chicago. All rights reserved.
ID number or DOI: 10.1086/284645
Keywords: overcompensation, mammalian herbivores, scarlet gilia, Ipomopsis aggregata
Subjects: Q Science > QK Botany
NAU Depositing Author Academic Status: Faculty/Staff
Department/Unit: College of Engineering, Forestry, and Natural Science > Biological Sciences
Date Deposited: 01 May 2017 20:26
URI: http://openknowledge.nau.edu/id/eprint/2635

Actions (login required)

IR Staff Record View IR Staff Record View


Downloads per month over past year