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Ecological Reviews: The Ecology of Plant Secondary Metabolites: From Genes to Global Processes
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Ecological Reviews: The Ecology of Plant Secondary Metabolites: From Genes to Global Processes (Hardback)

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Synopsis

Plant secondary metabolites (PSMs) such as terpenes and phenolic compounds are known to have numerous ecological roles, notably in defence against herbivores, pathogens and abiotic stresses and in interactions with competitors and mutualists. This book reviews recent developments in the field to provide a synthesis of the function, ecology and evolution of PSMs, revealing our increased awareness of their integrative role in connecting natural systems. It emphasises the multiple roles of secondary metabolites in mediating the interactions between organisms and their environment at a range of scales of ecological organisation, demonstrating how genes encoding for PSM biosynthetic enzymes can have effects from the cellular scale within individual plants all the way to global environmental processes. A range of recent methodological advances, including molecular, transgenic and metabolomic techniques, are illustrated and promising directions for future studies are identified, making this a valuable reference for researchers and graduate students in the field.

Glenn R. Iason is a principal ecologist at the James Hutton Institute (Aberdeen, UK) with interests in the role of plant secondary metabolites in the nutritional ecology of herbivores and their wider effects in communities and ecosystems. Marcel Dicke is Professor of Entomology at Wageningen University in The Netherlands. His ecological research focuses on the interaction between plants and insects and he has completed pioneering studies in the area of multitrophic interactions and community ecology. Susan E. Hartley is Professor of Ecology at the University of York and Director of the York Environmental Sustainability Institute. She specialises in the study of plant-animal interactions, particularly the mechanisms by which plant defences affect herbivore performance.

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