Ice Cream Bean Dream
Metabolomic investigation of the “ice cream bean” sheds light on diversity in tropical ecosystems
Ryan De Vooght-Johnson | | Quick Read
Metabolomic data from the Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute’s Barro Colorado Island Research Station in Panama show that pressure from hungry
insects is a driver of diversity in tropical environments (1). By studying the chemical defenses of nine different species of Inga (“ice cream bean” trees) and recording their insect herbivores, the authors showed that trees with similar phytochemistry and shared herbivores were less successful – important proof that insect herbivores drive diversity in rainforest plants. Lead author Dale Forrister (University of Utah), tells us more about analytical chemistry in the jungle.
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