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      Is biocontrol efficacy rather driven by the plant or the antagonist genotypes? A conceptual bioassay approach

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      NeoBiota

      Pensoft Publishers

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          Abstract

          In the new range, invasive species lack their specialist co-evolved natural enemies, which then might be used as biocontrol agents. Populations of both a plant invader in the introduced range and its potential biocontrol agents in the native range may be genetically differentiated among geographically distinct regions. This, in turn, is expected to affect the outcome of their interaction when brought together, and by this the efficacy of the control. It further raises the question, is the outcome of such interactions mainly driven by the genotype of the plant invader (some plant genotypes being more resistant/tolerant to most of the antagonist genotypes), or by the antagonist genotype (some antagonist genotypes being more effective against most of the plant genotypes)? This is important for biocontrol management, as only the latter is expected to result in more effective control, when introducing the right biocontrol agent genotypes. In a third scenario, where the outcome of the interaction is driven by a specific plant by antagonist genotype interactions, an effective control will need the introduction of carefully selected multiple antagonist genotypes. Here, we challenged in a complete factorial design 11 plant genotypes (mainly half-siblings) of the invasive Ambrosia artemisiifolia with larvae of eight genotypes (full-siblings) of the leaf beetle Ophraella communa, a potential biocontrol insect, and assessed larval and adult performance and leaf consumption as proxies of their expected impact on the efficacy of biological control. Both species were collected from several locations from their native (USA) and introduced ranges (Europe and China). In summary, we found O. communa genotype to be the main driver of this interaction, indicating the potential for at least short-term control efficacy when introducing the best beetle genotypes. Besides the importance of investigating the genetic structure both among and within populations of the plant invader and the biocontrol agent during the pre-release phase of a biocontrol program, we advocate integrating such bioassays, as this will give a first indication of the probability for an – at least – short- to mid-term efficacy when introducing a potential biocontrol agent, and on where to find the most efficient agent genotypes.

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          Most cited references 76

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          The evolution of body size: what keeps organisms small?

          It is widely agreed that fecundity selection and sexual selection are the major evolutionary forces that select for larger body size in most organisms. The general, equilibrium view is that selection for large body size is eventually counterbalanced by opposing selective forces. While the evidence for selection favoring larger body size is overwhelming, counterbalancing selection favoring small body size is often masked by the good condition of the larger organism and is therefore less obvious. The suggested costs of large size are: (1) viability costs in juveniles due to long development and/or fast growth; (2) viability costs in adults and juveniles due to predation, parasitism, or starvation because of reduced agility, increased detectability, higher energy requirements, heat stress, and/or intrinsic costs of reproduction; (3) decreased mating success of large males due to reduced agility and/or high energy requirements; and (4) decreased reproductive success of large females and males due to late reproduction. A review of the literature indicates a substantial lack of empirical evidence for these various mechanisms and highlights the need for experimental studies that specifically address the fitness costs of being large at the ecological, physiological, and genetic levels. Specifically, theoretical investigations and comprehensive case studies of particular model species are needed to elucidate whether sporadic selection in time and space is sufficient to counterbalance perpetual and strong selection for large body size.
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            Adaptive evolution in invasive species.

            Many emerging invasive species display evidence of rapid adaptation. Contemporary genetic studies demonstrate that adaptation to novel environments can occur within 20 generations or less, indicating that evolutionary processes can influence invasiveness. However, the source of genetic or epigenetic variation underlying these changes remains uncharacterised. Here, we review the potential for rapid adaptation from standing genetic variation and from new mutations, and examine four types of evolutionary change that might promote or constrain rapid adaptation during the invasion process. Understanding the source of variation that contributes to adaptive evolution in invasive plants is important for predicting future invasion scenarios, identifying candidate genes involved in invasiveness, and, more generally, for understanding how populations can evolve rapidly in response to novel and changing environments.
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              Specialist versus generalist insect herbivores and plant defense.

              There has been a long-standing hypothesis that specialist and generalist insects interact with plants in distinct ways. Although many tests exist, they typically compare only one species of each, they sometimes confound specialization and feeding guild, and often do not link chemical or transcriptional measures of the plant to actual resistance. In this review, we synthesize current data on whether specialists and generalists actually differ, with special attention to comparisons of their differential elicitation of plant responses. Although we find few consistencies in plant induction by specialists versus generalists, feeding guilds are predictive of differential plant responses. We outline a novel set of predictions based on current coevolutionary hypotheses and make methodological suggestions for improved comparisons of specialists and generalists. Copyright © 2012 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.
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                Author and article information

                Contributors
                Journal
                NeoBiota
                NB
                Pensoft Publishers
                1314-2488
                1619-0033
                December 08 2020
                December 08 2020
                : 63
                : 81-100
                Article
                10.3897/neobiota.63.54962
                © 2020

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