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Abstract

Recent theoretical studies suggest that the ability to tolerate consumer damage can be an important adaptive response by plants to selection imposed by consumers. Empirical studies have also found that tolerance is a common response to consumers among plants. Currently recognized mechanisms underlying tolerance include several general sets of traits: allocation patterns; plant architecture; and various other traits that may respond to consumer damage, e.g., photosynthetic rate. Theoretical studies suggest that tolerance to consumer damage may be favored under a range of conditions, even when the risk and intensity of damage varies. However, most of these models assume that the evolution of tolerance is constrained by internal resource allocation trade-offs. While there is some empirical evidence for such trade-offs, it is also clear that external constraints such as pollinator abundance or nutrient availability may also limit the evolution of tolerance. Current research also suggests that a full understanding of plant adaptation to consumers can only be achieved by investigating the joint evolution of tolerance and resistance. While tolerance to consumer damage has just recently received significant attention in the ecological literature, our understanding of it is rapidly increasing as its profound ecological and evolutionary implications become better appreciated.

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/content/journals/10.1146/annurev.ecolsys.31.1.565
2000-11-01
2024-06-20
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  • Article Type: Review Article
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