Past research

My team has explored global patterns of insect-plant relationships through a research synthesis of published and original data. Our database includes 3482 estimates of the percentage of leaf area consumed by insects, collected from 941 species of woody plants in 836 localities worldwide. We have analysed the geographical patterns of the total losses of plant foliage to insects and searched for climatic factors that can explain the variation in the levels of background insect herbivory across the globe, both within climate zones and among functional groups of plants.

Ongoing research

We are currently compiling published data for analysis of the geographical patterns of losses of root biomass to insects across the globe.

Featured publications

Kozlov, M. V., Lanta, V., Zverev, V. & Zvereva, E. L. (2015) Global patterns in background losses of woody plant foliage to insects. Global Ecology and Biogeography, 24, 1126-1135 (DOI 10.1111/geb.12347).

We for the first time demonstrated that the latitudinal gradient in background losses of woody plant foliage to insects across the globe is hump-shaped. This was done by the analysis of published and original data from 836 localities. In temperate and polar zones, but not in the tropics, levels of herbivory correlate with mean air temperatures and are therefore likely to increase with climate warming.

Kozlov, M. V., Lanta, V., Zverev, V. & Zvereva, E. L. (2015) Background losses of woody plant foliage to insects show variable relationships with plant functional traits across the globe. Journal of Ecology, 103, 1519-1528 (DOI 10.1111/1365-2745.12471).

We demonstrated that factors affecting the distribution of herbivory among species of woody plants differ between the climate zones, and that the predictive power of at least some of the theories/hypotheses addressing plant–herbivore interactions at large spatial scales varies among climates and/or biomes.


V. Lanta
V. Zverev
E. Zvereva

Co-operating scientists

Over 200 researchers from around the world


Academy of Finland