Community genetic (CG) effects and ecological factors create a complex set of interactions that are key drivers of evolutionary dynamics in ecological systems. To date, most studies investigating trait variation have focused on either effects of intraspecific genetic variation or on genotype by environment (GxE) interactions in isolation. Poorly investigated but very important are the interactions between CGs and indirect ecological effects (IEEs) that are caused by plant–soil interactions. Here, we tested how CGs in a cabbage host and its aphid parasite depended on the ecological conditions under which the host was grown. We established microcosms of different cabbage cultivars and aphid genotypes on soils inoculated with samples of other soils previously trained with onion. We hypothesized that such IEEs will have significantly different outcomes for ecosystems than predicted from simpler CG or GxE studies. Our analysis demonstrated a large IEE that differed by context and aphid genotype causing reduced parasite population sizes by up to 90%. The IEE is induced by insect-repellent properties and the microbiome of the onion. Our results highlight the importance of interacting IEEs and CGs for ecosystems dynamics showing that IEEs offer sustainable solutions by dramatically reducing parasite burden on cash crops.
|Journal||Proceedings of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences|
|Early online date||5 Sept 2018|
|Publication status||Published - 12 Sept 2018|