Plant-Insect interactions in the Anthropocene: patterns, mechanisms and challenges in the Neotropics


Plant-Insect interactions in the Anthropocene: patterns, mechanisms and challenges in the Neotropics

Mon, July 11,  14:00 - 16:00 hrs,  Room Barahona 1


Tatiana Cornelissen

This symposium will focus on the impacts of global environmental changes during the Anthropocene and their effects on community assemblage, species distribution and ecosystem functioning mediated by insects and their multiple interactions with host plants.

Interactions between plants and insects are complex, dynamic and vital for community organization and ecosystem functioning around the globe. Insects play key roles as herbivores, pollinators, seed dispersers and predators in both pristine and disturbed habitats, and the understanding of their positive and negative effects on plants is crucial, as these effects have the potential to scale up to populations and communities to inordinately impact tropical ecosystems in a rapidly-changing world. Novel ecosystems created during the Anthropocene and novel interactions that arise from these new physical environments have to be understood and managed to compensate unavoidable ecological losses of species and interactions. A deeper understanding about the processes and subjacent mechanisms shaping insect-plant interactions in tropical systems may help to elucidate the functional aspects related to species diversity and ecosystem processes. Insect occurrence, feeding and interactions with hosts is known to be largely influenced by plant traits such as geographical range and abundance, size and structural complexity, nutritional quality, phenology, and secondary chemistry and minor changes in these traits caused by human activities may have profound, but still improperly understood consequences for the structure and functions of terrestrial ecosystems. Plant-insect interactions are dynamic and subjected to continuous variation and change, but the importance of species and functional diversity for maintaining healthy, resilient ecosystems is now widely recognized. Accumulated evidence has shown that species interactions may mediate how individual species respond to both global climate and land use changes worldwide, but anthropogenic effects in species interactions are still poorly understood. The Neotropical region has a key importance, as it shelters much of the planetary insect biodiversity and still has large extensions of natural areas under great pressure of economic interest. Understanding the patterns and processes in this region is therefore central to the global plan to achieve ecological resilience in the Anthropocene. At this symposium, we intend to discuss the similarities and differences in insect-plant interactions in both preserved and disturbed Neotropical areas, to summarize the current knowledge using both spatial and temporal scales, to discuss the scenarios of climate change and land use change on both insects, plants and interactions, and finally to explore the functional links between biodiversity and processes mediated by insects. This symposium will comprise six presentations focusing on different taxa and interaction systems to compare, contrast, and search for models of responses of biodiversity and species interactions to habitat change, climate change and novel ecosystems.

Above and belowground mutualistic interactions in Inga edulis are coordinated by carbon and nutrient demand
Flávia Santana*, Rebeca Oliveira, Maria Alessandra Peixoto, Anselmo Nogueira, Laynara Lugli, Fabricio Baccaro, Luciana Bachega, Gabriela Neves, Sabrina Garcia, izabela aleixo, Nathielly Martins, Amanda Rayane Damasceno, Maria Pires, Anna Carolina Moraes, Pamella Leite, Vanessa Ferrer, Iokanam Sales Pereira, Alacimar Guedes, Bruno Portela, Iain Hartley, Lucia Fuchslueger, Oscar Valverde-Barrantes, David Lapola and Carlos Quesada

Synergistic effects of mutualistic ants on a Neotropical ant-plant: a long-term manipulative experiment revisiting the iconic Cecropia-Azteca system
Ricardo Campos*, Inácio Gomes, Ricardo Solar, Nico Bluthgen, Heraldo Vasconcelos, Luíza Silva, Karla Oliveira and Marcelo Moreira

Ants control herbivory at the community level: large-scale ant suppression reveals a higher effect in forest than in grassland
Tiago Fernandes*, Kate Parr, Ricardo Campos and Ricardo Solar

Not everything is what it seems to be: interactions among mistletoes, host plants and insects in a changing world
Frederico Neves*

Revisiting herbivory and florivory in tropical plants: patterns and the importance of functional traits
Tatiana Cornelissen*

Thermal mismatches between host plants and insect herbivores along elevational gradients: Implications for global warming
Carlos Garcia-Robledo*, Georgia Hernández and Erin Kuprewicz