Sources of controversy surrounding latitudinal patterns in herbivory and defense

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Monday, September 12, 2016 - 7:46am

Herbivores rule the world and are critical to the functioning of ecosystems. Yet tropical and temperate biologists can’t seem to agree if herbivory is greater in more tropical climates, or if there really isn’t much of an overall pattern. PhD candidates Daniel Anstett and Krystal Nunes (Kotanen Lab) make a foray into this debate in their paper “Sources of controversy surrounding latitudinal patterns in herbivory and defense”, recently published in Trends in Ecology and Evolution. Daniel and Krystal outline many methodological issues which might be responsible for the mixed patterns in the literature, from not linking herbivory to defense in studies, to differences in geographic and phylogenetic scopes of questions, to simply not measuring herbivory and defense properly. Their new review in TREE is set to make a splash in the field, but it is not yet clear whether it will cool the heated debate or add more fuel to the fire.

Congrats on this exciting paper!