Help Privacy Policy Disclaimer
  Advanced SearchBrowse




Book Chapter

Plant-animal dialogues


Gershenzon,  Jonathan
Department of Biochemistry, Prof. J. Gershenzon, MPI for Chemical Ecology, Max Planck Society;

External Resource
No external resources are shared
Fulltext (public)
There are no public fulltexts stored in PuRe
Supplementary Material (public)
There is no public supplementary material available

Preiß, S., Degenhardt, J., & Gershenzon, J. (2015). Plant-animal dialogues. In G. J. Krauss, & D. H. Nies (Eds.), Ecological Biochemistry: Environmental and Interspecies Interactions (pp. 313-330). Wiley-VCH Verlag GmbH & Co. KGaA. doi:10.1002/9783527686063.ch16.

Cite as: http://hdl.handle.net/11858/00-001M-0000-002C-3511-8
The green plants of terrestrial ecosystems produce the largest part of the planet’s biomass and thereby form the base for animal consumers.The interactions between terrestrial plants, pollinators, herbivores, and animals from higher trophic levels are so complex that only a fraction of these interdependent networks has been elucidated to date.Chemical cues guidemost of these interactions where they serve numerous functions.This chapter highlights the ecology of only a few plant-animal systems and the compounds that are crucial for these interactions. In plant interactions with other organisms, secondary metabolites often serve as attractants, deterrents, nutrients, toxins, or pigments. The extraordinarily high numbers of secondary metabolites produced by plants provides them with a large vocabulary to interact with organisms on multiple trophic levels. Without a doubt, there are many more compounds and functional roles still to be discovered. Two general strategies for metabolite production of plants can be observed in the examples shown above. First, the constitutive production of defense compounds or signals in specific tissues or developmental stages affects interacting organisms like herbivores or pollinators. Second, plant metabolites produced in response to outside cues either defend the plant directly or serve as signals to attract organisms of other trophic levels. Often, one compound can interact with several levels of a multitrophic system, which results in a high complexity. In its natural environment, the plant is embedded in a multitude of interactions on two and more trophic levels that can be organ-specific for leaves, roots, stems, flowers, and fruits. Although our understanding of plant–animal interactions has already much improved in the past decades, it is still a major challenge to unravel these complex, interdependent networks and to elucidate their ecological impact on plants and their interacting organisms.