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Interactions between cottonwood and beavers positively affect sawfly abundance


Bailey, J and Whitham, TG, Interactions between cottonwood and beavers positively affect sawfly abundance, Ecological Entomology, 31, (4) pp. 294-297. ISSN 0307-6946 (2006) [Refereed Article]

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DOI: doi:10.1111/j.1365-2311.2006.00774.x


1. Cottonwood (Populus spp.) are the dominant tree type in riparian forests of the western U.S.A. In these riparian forests, the beaver (Castor canadensis) is a major ecosystem engineer that commonly browses cottonwood, resulting in distinct changes to plant architecture. Here the hypothesis that beaver herbivory indirectly affects the distribution of a keystone leaf-galling sawfly through architectural changes in cottonwood was examined. 2. It was found that: (a) beaver herbivory of cottonwood results in an increase in average shoot length over unbrowsed cottonwood; (b) sawfly galls were up to 7-14 times more abundant on browsed cottonwood than unbrowsed cottonwood; and (c) sawfly gall abundance was correlated positively with changes in shoot length after beaver herbivory. Together these data show that the individual and combined effects of cottonwood and beaver herbivory increase shoot length, positively affecting sawfly abundance. 3. Because herbivores are a ubiquitous component of most ecosystems, we argue that the indirect effects of herbivory on plant quality, and subsequently other herbivores, may be as important as environmental variation. © 2006 The Authors.

Item Details

Item Type:Refereed Article
Research Division:Biological Sciences
Research Group:Ecology
Research Field:Ecology not elsewhere classified
Objective Division:Expanding Knowledge
Objective Group:Expanding knowledge
Objective Field:Expanding knowledge in the biological sciences
UTAS Author:Bailey, J (Associate Professor Joe Bailey)
ID Code:74480
Year Published:2006
Web of Science® Times Cited:27
Deposited By:Research Division
Deposited On:2011-12-02
Last Modified:2012-02-16

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