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Foliar nutrition: targeted fertilization to test herbivore preference
Umeå University, Faculty of Science and Technology, Department of Ecology and Environmental Sciences.
2014 (English)Independent thesis Basic level (degree of Bachelor), 10 credits / 15 HE creditsStudent thesis
Abstract [en]



The aim of this study was to increase knowledge of how plants as a whole respond to targeted fertilization and to refine the method of foliar nutrition fertilization. The experiment also aimed to test how herbivores respond when presented with a choice between fertilized and unfertilized Salix leaves in a feeding trial experiment. One major problem that arises when trying to alter the nutrient levels within a specific part of a plant is that adding fertilizer directly to the soil in which the plants grow will have a systemic effect on the plant, causing the plant physiology as a whole to change instead of just changing the properties of the plant part which the study focuses on. The approach chosen for this experiment is to target the leaves directly when applying the fertilizer and therefore try to avoid altering the rest of the plant. Fertilizer in the form of NH3NO4 was added to Salix leaves using a pipette and a brush at two different concentrations. When the leaves had been fertilized they were analyzed and used in a feeding trial experiment to study herbivore response to targeted fertilization. Once all data was analyzed statistically it became clear that both concentrations of the treatment had altered the nitrogen content within the leaves, however only the lower concentration had done so without altering the characteristics of the leaf. The data collected from the feeding trial displayed no statistical evidence for preference between the treated and control leaves in regard to amount consumed by the Phratora beetles, on the other hand when testing for egg laying preference 8/8 of egg clutches were laid on treated leaves.    

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2014. , 36 p.
Keyword [en]
Foliar nutrition, Salix viminalis, Phratora vulgatissima, Fertilization, Feeding trial
National Category
URN: urn:nbn:se:umu:diva-94349OAI: diva2:753420
Educational program
Bachelor of Science in Biology and Earthscience
Available from: 2014-10-13 Created: 2014-10-07 Last updated: 2014-10-13Bibliographically approved

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Penner, Johan
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