Plant Sensing And Communication

Paperback | June 30, 2015

byRichard Karban

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The news that a flowering weed—mousear cress (Arabidopsis thaliana)—can sense the particular chewing noise of its most common caterpillar predator and adjust its chemical defenses in response led to headlines announcing the discovery of the first “hearing” plant. As plants lack central nervous systems (and, indeed, ears), the mechanisms behind this “hearing” are unquestionably very different from those of our own acoustic sense, but the misleading headlines point to an overlooked truth: plants do in fact perceive environmental cues and respond rapidly to them by changing their chemical, morphological, and behavioral traits.

In Plant Sensing and Communication, Richard Karban provides the first comprehensive overview of what is known about how plants perceive their environments, communicate those perceptions, and learn. Facing many of the same challenges as animals, plants have developed many similar capabilities: they sense light, chemicals, mechanical stimulation, temperature, electricity, and sound. Moreover, prior experiences have lasting impacts on sensitivity and response to cues; plants, in essence, have memory. Nor are their senses limited to the processes of an individual plant: plants eavesdrop on the cues and behaviors of neighbors and—for example, through flowers and fruits—exchange information with other types of organisms. Far from inanimate organisms limited by their stationary existence, plants, this book makes unquestionably clear, are in constant and lively discourse.

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The news that a flowering weed—mousear cress (Arabidopsis thaliana)—can sense the particular chewing noise of its most common caterpillar predator and adjust its chemical defenses in response led to headlines announcing the discovery of the first “hearing” plant. As plants lack central nervous systems (and, indeed, ears), the mechanism...

Richard Karban is professor of entomology and a member of the Center for Population Biology at the University of California, Davis. He is coauthor of Induced Responses to Herbivory, also published by the University of Chicago Press, and How to Do Ecology: A Concise Handbook.

other books by Richard Karban

How to Do Ecology: A Concise Handbook
How to Do Ecology: A Concise Handbook

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Format:PaperbackDimensions:240 pages, 9 × 6 × 0.8 inPublished:June 30, 2015Publisher:University Of Chicago PressLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:022626470X

ISBN - 13:9780226264707

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Table of Contents

Acknowledgments
 
Chapter 1. Plant Behavior and Communication
1.1 Plants and animals are different but also similar
1.2 Working definitions
1.3 Plant sensing and communication—organization of this book
 
Chapter 2. Plant Sensory Capabilities
2.1 Plants sense their environments
2.2 Plants sense light
2.3 Chemical sensing
2.4 Mechanical sensing—touch
2.5 Plant sensing of temperature, electricity, and sound
 
Chapter 3. Plant Learning and Memory
3.1 Do plants learn?
3.2 Learning, memory, and light
3.3 Learning, memory, and perception of chemicals, resources, pathogens, and herbivores
3.4 Learning, memory, and touch
3.5 Learning, memory, and cold
3.5 Transgenerational memory
 
Chapter 4. Cues and Signals in Plant Communication
4.1 The nature of cues and signals
4.2 Plant competition—light and hormonal cues
4.3 Cues used in plant defense
4.4 Cues and signals emitted by plants that animals sense
 
Chapter 5. Plant Responses to Cues about Resources
5.1 General characteristics of plant responses
5.2 Plants forage for resources
5.3 Integrating resource needs
 
Chapter 6. Plant Responses to Herbivory
6.1 Induced responses as plant defenses
6.2 Volatile signals and communication between ramets and individuals
6.3 Indirect defenses against herbivores
6.4 Visual communication between plants and herbivores
 
Chapter 7. Plant Communication and Reproduction
7.1 Pollination and communication
7.2 Seed dispersal and communication
 
Chapter 8. Microbes and Plant Communication
8.1 Microbes are critical for plant success
8.2 Plants recognize pathogens
8.3 Infested plants attract the microbial enemies of their attackers
8.4 Plants communicate with mycorrhizal fungi
8.5 Plants communicate with N-fixing bacteria
 
Chapter 9. Plant Sensing and Communication as Adaptations
9.1 Plant senses and emission of cues—adaptive traits?
9.2 Case studies of adaptations
 
Chapter 10. Plant Sensing and Communication in Agriculture and Medicine
10.1 Manipulating the sensing and communication process
10.2 Manipulating resource acquisition and allocation
10.3 Manipulating tolerance to abiotic stress
10.4 Manipulating resistance to pathogens
10.5 Manipulating resistance to herbivores
10.6 Manipulating reproductive timing and effort
10.7 As a source of medicines
10.8 Plant sensing in the future of mankind
 
References
Index

Editorial Reviews

“Richard Karban gives an introduction to a secret world: the multiple ways via which plants obtain information on their environment. Plants identify microbes and animals with which they are in contact, distinguish friends from foes, perceive the presence and degree of attack of their plant neighbors. They successfully integrate all this information and respond with adequate behaviors to enhance their chances of survival end reproduction. Reports on talking trees and intelligent plant behavior make it regularly into the public press, but they frequently leave the impression that botanists humanize their study objects, perhaps to make them more attractive for the public. In Plant Sensing and Communication, Karban carefully avoids this pitfall and provides us with detailed descriptions of all the physiological mechanisms that enable plants to gain information on their environment, make optimal use of the resources available, and actively manipulate their biotic environment for their own benefits.”