Comment on “Information arms race explains plant-herbivore chemical communication in ecological communities”

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Ethan Bass, André Kessler


Zu et al (Science, 19 Jun 2020, p. 1377) propose that an ‘information arms-race’ between plants and herbivores explains plant-herbivore communication at the community level. However, our analysis shows that key assumptions of the proposed model either a) conflict with standard evolutionary theory or b) are not supported by the available evidence. We also show that the presented statistical patterns can be explained more parsimoniously (e.g. through a null model) without invoking an unlikely process of community selection.



Biodiversity, Biology, Ecology and Evolutionary Biology, Entomology, Life Sciences, Plant Biology, Plant Sciences


chemical information, chemical language, coevolution, coevolutionary arms-race, plant-herbivore coevolution, plant VOCs, secondary metabolism, Volatile Organic Compounds


Published: 2021-09-23 01:03

Last Updated: 2022-03-11 06:53

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