All ecological and evolutionary aspects of plant-herbivore interactions generally interest me. The main objective of my research is to determine how environmental stress (natural or anthropogenic) may influence plant-herbivore interactions and what are the consequences for ecological communities or ecosystems. The questions addressed in my studies concern mainly the ecology and nutrition of insect herbivores as well as plant biochemistry and ecology. My investigations concern the following general questions:
- How do plant responses to environmental stress affect herbivores?
- What are the implications of plant stress-herbivore interactions for ecological communities or ecosystem dynamics?
Through my collaboration with Finnish researchers, I have been involved in a project dealing with riparian buffer zones made of woody plants and used to filter nutrient (N and P) runoff from agroecosystems. This project addresses the following questions: How do invertebrate and mammalian herbivores respond to woody plants in nutrient-rich, managed agroecosystems? How herbivore pressure and woody plant species assemblages affect nutrient retention in riparian buffer zones? Experimental buffer zones were built in 2001 in SW Finland and should last at least 10 years.
Currently, I am developing a research program on the impact of Norway maple, an invasive tree, on plant and insect diversity of urban forests in Toronto. One of the main objectives will be to determine how Norway maple effects on native vegetation may feed through to higher trophic levels.
Rautio, P., Markkola, A., Martel, J., Tuomi, J., Härmä, E., Kuikka, K., Siitonen, A., Riesco, I.L. & Roitto, M. 2002. Developmental plasticity in birch leaves: defoliation causes a shift from glandular to nonglandular trichomes. Oikos 93: 437-446.
Martel, J., Hanhimäki, S., Kause, A. & Haukioja, E. 2001. Diversity of birch sawfly responses to seasonally atypical diets. Entomologia Experimentalis et Applicata 100: 301-309.
Lempa, K., Martel, J., Koricheva, J., Haukioja, E., Ossipov, V., Ossipova, S. & Pihlaja, K. 2000. Covariation of fluctuating asymmetry, herbivory and chemistry during birch leaf expansion. Oecologia 122: 354-360.
Martel, J., Lempa, K. & Haukioja, E. 1999. Effects of stress and rapid growth on fluctuating asymmetry and insect damage in birch leaves. Oikos 86: 208-216.
Martel, J. & Mauffette, Y. 1997. Lepidopteran communities in temperate deciduous forests affected by forest decline. Oikos 78: 48-56.