Assistant Professor
Department of Ecology
Box 7044
750 07 Uppsala
Johan Stenberg

Plant-herbivore-enemy interactions

Plants evolve in response to natural selection by herbivores and their natural enemies. I try to understand the causes and consequences of this selection, as well as factors contributing to temporal and spatial variation in natural selection. Basic knowledge obtained from studies on these interactions can be used in crop breeding to produce more resistant varieties.

Model systems

I use Salix ssp. and Fragaria vesca as model plants. Both plants are frequently attacked by chrysomelid herbivores which they combat by producing phenolic compounds in the leaves (direct defense), and recruiting parasitoids (indirect defense). Both plants are clonal, which opens up the possibility to easily replicate genotypes to be used in multifactorial experiment

Selected publications

Stenberg JA, Heil M, Åhman I & Björkman C. 2015. Optimizing Crops for Biocontrol of Pests and Disease. Trends in Plant Science, doi: 10.1016/j.tplants.2015.08.007

Stenberg JA. 2012. Plant-mediated effects of different Salix species on the performance of the braconid parasitoid Perilitus brevicollis. Biological Control 60: 54 – 58.

Stenberg JA, Lehrman A & Björkman C. 2011. Plant defence: feeding your bodyguards can be counter-productive. Basic and Applied Ecology 12: 629 – 633.

Stenberg JA, Lehrman A & Björkman C. 2011. Host-plant genotype mediates supply and demand of animal food in an omnivorous insect. Ecological Entomology 36: 442 – 449.

Stenberg JA, Lehrman A & Björkman C. 2010. Uncoupling direct and indirect plant defences: novel opportunities for improving crop security in willow plantations. Agriculture, Ecosystems & Environment 139: 528 – 533.

Stenberg JA, Hambäck PA & Ericson L. 2008. Herbivore-induced “rent rise” in the host plant may drive a diet breadth enlargement in the tenant. Ecology 89: 126 – 133.


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