Papers in the Biological Sciences


Date of this Version



Published in Ecology 74:3 (1993), pp. 970-971. Copyright 1993 by the Ecological Society of America. Used by permission.


The book by Hunter et al. has two aims. The first is to focus more attention on the role of variation in resources, specifically plant resources, in the dynamics of herbivorous animals. The emphasis on plant variability in herbivore performance and dynamics, rather than on average patterns of plant resource availability, is timely. Emphasis to date has been on general patterns of resource use. However, knowledge of variation is required to predict outcomes of both ecological processes and evolutionary changes with environmental modification. Thus, I expect this book will be considered an important step on the road to such understanding. ... In sum, the book presents multiple careful reviews of the bottom-up perspective for several types of herbivore populations. These should stimulate discussion and further comparative work. It also contains several gems in terms of creative ideas and potential tracks for future work. I think the book merits serious examination by all who are interested in the plant-insect interaction at the population and community levels. My main disappointment was the rarity with which the effects of herbivores and herbivore variation on their plant host population and community dynamics were discussed