Table of Contents
ISRN Ecology
Volume 2011 (2011), Article ID 730801, 7 pages
http://dx.doi.org/10.5402/2011/730801
Research Article

Potential Effects of Host Height and Phenology on Adult Susceptibility to Foliar Attack in Tropical Dry Forest Grass

Centro de Investigaciones en Ecosistemas, Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México (UNAM), Antigua Carretera a Pátzcuaro No. 8701, Ex Hacienda de San José de la Huerta, 58190 Morelia, MICH, Mexico

Received 31 January 2011; Accepted 29 March 2011

Academic Editors: P. Coley and D. Sánchez-Fernández

Copyright © 2011 Bráulio A. Santos et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

Abstract

Identifying the sources of variation in plant susceptibility to herbivore and pathogen attack is critical to understand ecological processes determining species abundance and diversity in tropical forests. We assessed the potential effect of tiller height and phenology on standing levels of herbivore and pathogen damage on adults of the woody perennial grass Lasiacis ruscifolia in the tropical dry forest of Chamela, Mexico. Analyses revealed that adult susceptibility to pathogens was greater in small and fruiting tillers than in taller and leaf flushing tillers. Adult susceptibility to herbivores, on the other hand, varied greatly among plants and had no relationship with tiller height and phenology. Our findings suggest that adults highly susceptible to pathogen attack could augment the negative density and distance dependence effects predicted by the Janzen-Connell hypothesis, with potential consequences for the local distribution of the studied species in the forest.