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Yuriko Mori - Carbon Dioxide & Plant Physiology

Oklahoma State University, Stillwater

Influence of Elevated Carbon Dioxide on Plant-Herbivore Interactions

My research project at SERC focused on the influence of elevated carbon dioxide on plant-herbivore interactions.  Twenty-one day experiments were conducted to observe the interactions between short-horned grasshoppers, Leptysma margincollis and the marsh sedge, Scirpus onleyii.  This sedge is characterized as a C3 type of plant found in wetlands and the carbon dioxide lab at SERC has studied this plant under different levels of CO2 for the past twenty years.  Under elevated carbon dioxide conditions, the marsh sedge responds with greater photosynthetic rates, increased biomass (above and below ground), greater water use efficiency, and C:N ratios decrease.  Nitrogen is the limiting factor for herbivores and some leaf chewers compensate for the decreased nitrogen by increasing food consumption.  In summary, under elevated carbon dioxide conditions the plant quality is lower with means to the nitrogen content, grasshoppers consume more food and produce more frass, and nitrogen addition may better explain overall plant quality.

Funding was provided by the Smithsonian Institution Women’s Committee