The climate crisis is affecting herbivorous-lants

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The climate crisis is affecting herbivorous-lants

An editorial of the journal Science published in 2019 notes that the position of scientists on the matter is clear: the climate crisis requires a social transformation of dimensions and speed rarely achieved in the history of humanity; the latest social changes of this magnitude were triggered by the Great Depression and World War II.

At the time, this had been possible thanks to the awareness of an existential threat as well as the broad support of society. Today, society faces a similar threat again, but the growing wealth gap and conflicting economic interests prevent it from implementing the necessary changes.

Resolving the climate crisis therefore requires a strong commitment to equity and justice, to indigenous peoples and future generations, as well as to global change. Now, the study: Climate change alters plant-herbivore interactions, published on the The New phytologist, makes an interesting retrospective on the subject, and tells us: "Plant-herbivore interactions have evolved in response to coevolutionary dynamics, along with selection driven by abiotic conditions.

We examine how abiotic factors influence trait expression in both plants and herbivores to evaluate how climate change will alter this long-standing interaction. The paleontological record documents increased herbivory during periods of global warming in the deep past.

In phylogenetically corrected meta- analyzes, we find that elevated temperatures, CO2 concentrations, drought stress and nutrient conditions directly and indirectly induce greater food consumption by herbivores. Additionally, elevated CO2 delays herbivore development, but increased temperatures accelerate development.

For annual plants, higher temperatures, CO2 and drought stress increase foliar herbivory. Our meta-analysis also suggests that greater temperatures and drought may heighten florivory in perennials. Human actions are causing concurrent shifts in CO2, temperature, precipitation regimes and nitrogen deposition, yet few studies evaluate interactions among these changing conditions.

We call for additional multifactorial studies that simultaneously manipulate multiple climatic factors, which will enable us to generate more robust predictions of how climate change could disrupt plant-herbivore interactions.

Finally, we consider how shifts in insect and plant phenology and distribution patterns could lead to ecological mismatches, and how these changes may drive future adaptation and coevolution between interacting species. "