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Title: Effects of the maternal rearing environment on pea aphid (Acyrthosiphon pisum) trophic interactions
Author: Slater, Jennifer M.
Awarding Body: University of Aberdeen
Current Institution: University of Aberdeen
Date of Award: 2018
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The maternal rearing environment (MRE) of an organism can be a key determinant of an organism's host choice decisions, its own fitness, or the fitness of its offspring. Here, it is investigated if the MRE of an organism can influence lower or higher trophic levels. A series of reciprocal cross-over experiments was conducted using pea aphids (Acyrthosiphon pisum), bean (Vicia faba) or pea (Pisum sativum) plants, and an aphid natural enemy, the parasitoid wasp Aphidius ervi, as model organisms. In each experiment, pea aphid offspring experienced either the same or an alternative plant host to that experienced by their mothers. This PhD showed that the MRE of pea aphids and parasitoid wasps was not a main contributory factor of host choice decisions or offspring fitness but influenced mother parasitoid wasp fecundity. Additionally, the MRE of pea aphids influenced the foliar nutrient concentration of pea plants when infested with the aphid's offspring. First, over shorter infestation periods, variation in foliar nitrogen and essential amino acid concentrations of pea leaves could be explained by pea aphid MRE. Over longer infestation periods, variation in foliar nitrogen and essential amino acid concentrations of pea leaves was explained by a combination of pea aphid MRE and aphid genotype. Second, the 13C concentration of pea leaf tissue, an indicator of stomatal aperture and leaf water stress, varied with pea aphid MREs over longer infestation periods. However, stomatal conductance and the expression of abscisic acid-responsive genes did not vary in a manner that was consistent with leaf water stress. Additional components of an organism's maternal rearing conditions are considered, including symbioses, as a more realistic MRE compared with that observed in nature. Taking account of MREs could provide a better understanding of the factors influencing the fitness of many organisms interacting in natural and managed ecosystems.
Supervisor: Karley, Alison ; Gilbert, Lucy ; Johnson, David ; Price, Adam Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: Pea aphid ; Fava bean ; Peas ; Food chains (Ecology)