Volatile responses of dwarf birch to mimicked insect herbivory and experimental warming at two elevations in Greenlandic tundra

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Plants release a complex blend of volatile organic compounds (VOCs) in response to stressors. VOC emissions vary between contrasting environments and increase with insect herbivory and rising temperatures. However, the joint effects of herbivory and warming on plant VOC emissions are understudied, particularly in high latitudes, which are warming fast and facing increasing herbivore pressure. We assessed the individual and combined effects of chemically mimicked insect herbivory, warming, and elevation on dwarf birch (Betula glandulosa) VOC emissions in high-latitude tundra ecosystems in Narsarsuaq, South Greenland. We hypothesized that VOC emissions and compositions would respond synergistically to warming and herbivory, with the magnitude differing between elevations. Warming increased emissions of green leaf volatiles (GLVs) and isoprene. Herbivory increased the homoterpene, (E)-4,8-dimethyl-1,3,7-nonatriene, emissions, and the response was stronger at high elevation. Warming and herbivory had synergistic effects on GLV emissions. Dwarf birch emitted VOCs at similar rates at both elevations, but the VOC blends differed between elevations. Several herbivory-associated VOC groups did not respond to herbivory. Harsher abiotic conditions at high elevations might not limit VOC emissions from dwarf birch, and high-elevation plants might be better at herbivory defense than assumed. The complexity of VOC responses to experimental warming, elevation, and herbivory are challenging our understanding and predictions of future VOC emissions from dwarf birch-dominated ecosystems.
TidsskriftPlant-Environment Interactions
Udgave nummer1
Antal sider13
StatusUdgivet - 2023

Bibliografisk note

Funding Information:
The project was supported by the European Research Council (ERC) under the European Union's Horizon 2020 research and innovation program (grant agreement No 771012), the Danish National Research Foundation (Center for Permafrost, CENPERM DNRF100), and the Elite Research Prize of the Ministry for Higher Education and Science to Riikka Rinnan (grant 9095‐00004B). Tao Li received funding from the Starting Research Fund of Sichuan University, the Fundamental Research Funds for the Central Universities (grant agreement SCU2021D006), and the European Union's Horizon 2020 research and innovation program under the Marie Sklodowska‐Curie actions (grant agreement 751684). Toke Thomas Høye acknowledges funding from the Independent Research Fund Denmark (grant 8021‐00423B). We thank Helle Sørensen from the Data Science Lab at the University of Copenhagen for advice on statistical analyses.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2023 The Authors. Plant-Environment Interactions published by New Phytologist Foundation and John Wiley & Sons Ltd.

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