Herbivory affects subsequent herbivores, mainly regulated by the phytohormones jasmonic (JA) and salicylic acid (SA). Additionally, organisms such as soil microbes belowground or parasitoids that develop inside their herbivorous hosts aboveground, can change plant responses to herbivory. However, it is not yet well known how organisms of trophic levels other than herbivores, below- and above-ground, alter the interactions between insect species sharing a host plant. Here, we investigated whether the parasitoid Aphidius colemani and different soil microbial communities (created through plant-soil feedbacks) affect the JA and SA signalling pathways in response to the aphid Myzus persicae and the thrips Frankliniella occidentalis, as well as subsequent thrips performance. Our results show that the expression of the JA-responsive gene CaPINII in sweet pepper was more suppressed by aphids than by parasitised aphids. However, parasitism did not affect the expression of CaPAL1, a biosynthetic gene of SA. Furthermore, aphid feeding enhanced thrips performance compared with uninfested plants, but this was not observed when aphids were parasitised. Soils where different plant species were previously grown, did not affect plant responses or the interaction between herbivores. Our study shows that members of the third trophic level can modify herbivore interactions by altering plant physiology.
|Date made available||06 Dec 2016|