Functional Plant Biology Functional Plant Biology Society
Plant function and evolutionary biology
RESEARCH ARTICLE

Pest and disease abundance and dynamics in wheat and oilseed rape as affected by elevated atmospheric CO2 concentrations

Viktoriya Oehme A C , Petra Högy A , Jürgen Franzaring A , Claus P. W. Zebitz B and Andreas Fangmeier A

A Institute of Landscape and Plant Ecology (320), Universität Hohenheim, 70599 Stuttgart, Germany.

B Institute of Phytomedicine (360), Universität Hohenheim, 70593 Stuttgart, Germany.

C Corresponding author. Email: viktoriya.oehme@web.de

Functional Plant Biology 40(2) 125-136 https://doi.org/10.1071/FP12162
Submitted: 19 December 2011  Accepted: 26 September 2012   Published: 23 November 2012

Abstract

Future atmospheric CO2 concentrations are predicted to increase, and directly affect host plant phenology, which, in turn, is assumed to mediate the performance of herbivorous insects indirectly as well as the abundance and epidemiology of plant diseases. In a 4-year field experiment, spring wheat (Triticum aestivum L. cv. Triso) and spring oilseed rape (Brassica napus L. cv. Campino) were grown using a mini- free-air CO2 enrichment (FACE) system, which consisted of a control (CON), an ambient treatment (AMB) and FACE treatments. The CON and AMB treatments did not receive additional CO2, whereas the FACE plots were moderately elevated by 150 μL L–1 CO2. The impact of elevated CO2 was examined with regard to plant phenology, biomass, leaf nitrogen and carbon, abundance of insect pest species and their relative population growth by either direct counts or yellow sticky traps. Occurrence and damage of plants by pathogens on spring wheat and oilseed rape were directly assessed. Disease infestations on plants were not significantly different between ambient and elevated CO2 in any of the years. Plant phenology, aboveground biomass, foliar nitrogen and carbon concentrations were also not significantly affected by CO2 enrichment. In contrast, the abundance of some species of insects was significantly influenced by elevated CO2, showing either an increase or a decrease in infestation intensity.

Additional keywords: Brassica spp., CO2 enrichment, plant–insect interactions.


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