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Adriana Puentes

Adriana Puentes
Dr. Adriana Puentes is an Associate Senior Lecturer in Forest Protection against insect pests at the Dept. of Ecology, SLU, Uppsala. Her broad interests lie in understanding the ecology and evolution of plant-herbivore interactions, and she has employed both a bi-trophic and tri-trophic perspective (including natural enemies of herbivores) in her studies. She is particularly interested in the key role that plant defenses play in mediating interactions and their ecological consequences. Her goal is to generate and utilize such knowledge to improve current practices, and develop novel plant protection strategies against insect pests.


I am a plant ecologist, with a strong background in evolutionary biology. The intricate interaction between plants and herbivores has always fascinated me and driven me to explore the factors affecting and underlying such interactions. Plants have evolved a broad range of incredible traits to fight against and withstand the damage inflicted by herbivores; such traits confer resistance and tolerance to plants, respectively. These two plant defense strategies have a key role in mediating plant-herbivore interactions and even plant-herbivore-enemy interactions. Resistance and tolerance vary in their relative importance depending on the herbivore in question, and can differentially affect the amount of damage received and subsequent recovery by plants. Understanding which plant defense strategies are relevant for which herbivores can provide us with the plant protection toolbox of dreams: A reservoir of knowledge that allows implementation of strategies based on the types of damage that plants are able to resist and recover from. In my research, I focus on understanding the ecology of plant defenses in order to improve current practices, but also implement novel plant protection strategies. I am interested in intrinsic plant defences (those stemming directly fromplant traits) and indirect defense (mediated through enemies of herbivores or other extrinsic factors).

Currently, one of my main projects involves exploring the role of plant defenses in mediating interactions between pine weevils (Hylobius abietis) and conifer seedlings. 


I teach in several undergraduate courses, on the subjects of Population Ecology, Evolution, and/or Botany, in the Agronomy, Forestry or Landscape architecture programs at SLU.

Course leader for Ecology BI1349:


-Exploiting a novel finding in plant protection: utilizing somatic embryogenesis to enhance intrinsic plant resistance to pests (Troedssons research fund, Project leader, 2020-)

-Utilizing basic plant defences as a tool in plant protection: combining tolerance and resistance of conifer seedlings to pine weevil damage (Swedish Research council (VR), Project leader, 2019-)

-Managing insect damage on planted spruce and pine seedlings by exploiting variation in genetic resistance (FORMAS, Project leader, 2018-)

Other ongoing projects/studies:

-Plant adaptation to climate (collaboration with University of Toronto, Canada; University of Louisiana-Lafayette, USA; Centre national de la recherche scientifique, Montpellier, France). Visit the project website:

-Priming in trees consortium. An alliance of researchers studying how we can sensitize, prime or induce tree defences to fight pests and diseases. It consists of researchers from 9 different countries and 20 different institutions. Consortium website:

-Global Urban Evolution (GLUE) project. Global-scale project studying the evolution of hydrogen cyanide (HCN) production in white clover (Trifolium repens). Project website:

-Evaluation of different methods to induce or prime plant defenses before actual herbivore attack occurs

-Plant-plant communication and effect on amount of pine weevil damage received by conifer seedlings

-Ecological and evolutionary factors mediating and affecting tri-trophic interactions (plant-herbivore-predator)

-Omnivores as biocontrol agents and their effect on leaf-chewing beetle pests and on plant growth/defenses in Salix (willow) plantations.


Masters students:

Agnes Brosset (2017)

PhD students:

Yayuan Chen (2017-2021). Public thesis defense: November 18th, 2021

Amelia Tudoran (2018-)

Kristina Berggren (2019-)

Post-doc mentorship:

Nina Zhang (2020-) (co-mentored with Prof. Christer Björkman)

Selected publications

1. Chen Y, Puentes A, Björkman C, Brosset A, Bylund H (2021) Comparing exogenous methods to induce plant-resistance against a bark-feeding insect. Frontiers in Plant Science 12: 1504.

2. Zhang XN, Stephan JG, Björkman C, Puentes A (2021) Global change calls for novel plant protection: reviewing the potential of omnivorous plant-inhabiting arthropods as predators and plant defence inducers. Current Opinion in Insect Science 47: 103-110.

3. Puentes A, Zhao T, Lundborg L, Björklund N, Borg-Karlson AK (2021) Variation in methyl jasmonate-induced defense among Norway spruce clones and trade-offs in resistance against a fungal and an insect pest. Frontiers in Plant Science 12: 962.

4. Tudoran A, Bylund H, Nordlander G, Oltean I, Puentes A (2021) Using associational effects of European beech on Norway spruce to mitigate damage by a forest regeneration pest, the pine weevil Hylobius abietis. Forest Ecology and Management 486: 118980.

5. Tudoran A, Nordlander G, Karlberg A, Puentes A (2020) A major forest insect pest, the pine weevil Hylobius abietis, is more susceptible to Diptera‐ than Coleoptera‐targeted Bacillus thuringiensis strains. Pest Management Science 77: 1303-1315.

6. Chen Y, Bylund H, Björkman C, Fedderwitz F, Puentes A (2020) Seasonal timing and recurrence of methyl jasmonate treatment influence pine weevil damage to Norway spruce seedlings. New Forests 52: 431-448.

7. Abdala-Roberts L and Puentes A*, Finke DL, Marquis RJ, Montserrat M, Poelman EH, Rasmann S, Sentis A, van Dam NM, Wimp G, Mooney K, Björkman C (2019) Tri-trophic interactions: bridging species, communities and ecosystems. Ecology Letters 22: 2151-2167.

*Shared first-authorship

8. Vicari M, Puentes A, Granath G, Georgeff J, Strathdee F, Bazely DR (2018) Unpacking multi-trophic herbivore-grass-endophyte interactions: feedbacks across different scales in vegetation responses to Soay sheep herbivory. The Science of Nature 105: 66.

9. Puentes A, Stephan JG, Björkman C (2018) A systematic review on the effects of plant-feeding by omnivorous arthropods: time to catch-up with the mirid-tomato bias? Frontiers in Ecology and Evolution 6: 218.

10. Puentes A, Högberg KA, Björklund N, Nordlander G (2018) Novel avenues for plant protection: Plant propagation by somatic embryogenesis enhances resistance to insect feeding. Frontiers in Plant Science 9: 1553.

11. Puentes A, Björkman C (2017) Costs and benefits of enemy-mediated plant protection: Omnivorous 'bodyguard' of willows (Salix spp.) more detrimental than expected. Oecologia: 184: 485-496.

12. Puentes A, Granath G, Ågren J (2016) Similarity in G matrix structure among natural populations of Arabidopsis lyrata. Evolution 70: 2370-2386.

13. Puentes A, Johnson MTJ (2016) Tolerance to deer herbivory and resistance to insect herbivores in the common evening primrose (Oenothera biennis). Journal of Evolutionary Biology 29: 86-97.

14. Puentes A, Torp M, Weih M, Björkman C (2015) Direct effects of elevated temperature on a Salix-leaf beetle-predatory bug system. Arthropod-Plant Interactions 9: 567-575.

15. Puentes A, Ågren J (2014) No trade-off between trichome production and tolerance to leaf and inflorescence damage in a natural population of Arabidopsis lyrata. Journal of Plant Ecology 7: 373-383.

16. Puentes A, Ågren J (2013) Trichome production and variation in young plant resistance to the specialist insect herbivore Plutella xylostella among natural populations of Arabidopsis lyrata. Entomologia Experimentalis et Applicata 149: 166-176.

17. Puentes A, Cole WW, Barrett SCH (2013) Trimorphic incompatibility in Pontederia subovata (Pontederiaceae): an aquatic macrophyte from lowland South America. International Journal of Plant Sciences 174: 47-56.

18. Puentes A, Ågren J (2012) Additive and non-additive effects of simulated leaf and inflorescence damage on survival, growth and reproduction of the perennial herb Arabidopsis lyrata. Oecologia 169: 1033-1042.

19. Puentes A, Bazely DR, Huss-Danell K (2007) Endophytic fungi in Festuca pratensis grown in Swedish agricultural grasslands with different managements. Symbiosis 44: 121-126. (PDF available through A Puentes' ResearchGate profile:

20. Granath G, Vicari M, Bazely DR, Ball JP, Puentes A, Rakocevic T (2007) Variation in the abundance of fungal endophytes in fescue grasses along altitudinal and grazing gradients. Ecography 30: 422-430.            


Björkman C, Puentes A (2019) Naturliga fiender till skadeinsekter – hur stor betydelse har det när de äter växter också? SLU Kunskapsbanken, länk:


Twitter: @puentes_adri


Pine weevil research group website:


Senior Lecturer at the Department of Ecology; S, Forest entomology unit
Telephone: +4618672403
Postal address:
Inst för Ekologi, Box 7044
750 07 UPPSALA
Visiting address: Ulls Väg 16, Älvkarleby