Population-level variation in plant secondary chemistry, and the population biology of herbivores

Mark D. Hunter, Stephen B. Malcolm, Sue E. Hartley

Research output: Contribution to journalEditorialpeer-review


Modern population ecology is becoming increasingly spatially-explicit. For insect hervibores, spatial variation in plant quality is a critical component of distribution and abundance. We argue that population-level measurements of phytochemical variation among individual plants has not kept pace with recent developments in population ecology. With examples from our own work, we demonstrate the importance of spatial variation in plant chemistry for insect herbivores, and suggest that phytochemistry should play a central role in the development of any spatially-based ecological theory.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)45-56
Number of pages12
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Mar 1996

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