The effects of increasing plant biodiversity on higher trophic levels have been mainly studied with a focus on plant species richness. More recently, the role of plant intraspecific diversity has come into focus, because plant variation is known to strongly affect the plant-associated insect community. Tanacetum vulgare is highly diverse in leaf terpenoid content and variation in chemodiversity between individual plants has already been shown to affect the insect community on the plant. We propose to manipulate the intraspecific chemical diversity, i.e., chemodiversity, of Tanacetum vulgare at the plant community level, to study the interactions between this plant, its herbivores and the natural enemies of the herbivores, but also the interactions with further species such as aphid-tending ants.
Field experiment in the Jena Experiment fieldsite (Jena, Thuringia) to create T. vulgare communities with different levels of intraspecific diversity.
PhD candidate Lina Ojeda preparing a 2-choice assays in the greenhouse at Dürnast facilities. Two leaves belonging to two plants of different chemotypes are offered to either M. tanacetaria or U. tanaceti.