Posts Tagged ‘typically’

Share Your Research on a Blog

How can researchers provide information about their studies in ways that would be useful and interesting to prospective and current research participants? With that question in my mind, MethodSpace’s Janet Salmons began to explore the potential for blogs to recruit and inform participants. As with almost any online exploration, she discovered a much broader potential for blogs in the academic world.

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First ever dino brain fossil found: Iguanodon

Can it tell us about dinosaur intelligence? From Brian Resnick at Vox: Closer analysis revealed a few-millimeter-thick layer of structures that looked like blood vessels. There were also traces of meninges, the tough outer layer that protects the brain, preserved in mineral form. … More dinosaur brain specimens could help solve a big mystery about […]

Quantum superposition now clocked at as long as a second

From Physicists have implemented the first experimental demonstration of everlasting quantum coherence—the phenomenon that occurs when a quantum system exists in a superposition of two or more states at once. Typically, quantum coherence lasts for only a fraction of a second before decoherence destroys the effect due to interactions between the quantum system and […]

Variability in plant nutrients reduces insect herbivore performance

The performance and population dynamics of insect herbivores depend on the nutritive and defensive traits of their host plants1. The literature on plant-herbivore interactions focuses on plant trait means2,3,4, but recent studies showing the importance of plant genetic diversity for herbivores suggest that plant trait variance may be equally important5,6. The consequences of plant trait variance for herbivore performance, however, have been largely overlooked. Here we report an extensive assessment of the effects of within-population plant trait variance on herbivore performance using 457 performance datasets from 53 species of insect herbivores. We found that variance in plant nutritive traits substantially reduces mean herbivore performance via nonlinear averaging of performance relationships that were overwhelmingly concave-down. In contrast, relationships between herbivore performance and plant defense levels were typically linear, such that plant defense variance does not affect herbivore performance via nonlinear averaging. Our results demonstrate that plants contribute to the suppression of herbivore populations by having variable nutrient levels, not just by having low average quality as is typically thought. We propose that this phenomenon could play a key role in the suppression of herbivore populations in natural systems, and that increased nutrient heterogeneity within agricultural crops could contribute to the sustainable control of insect pests in agroecosystems.

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