Monday, June 09, 2008

Plant Behavior

There is a scientific society dedicated to the study of almost anything. But until recently (2005) there was no society dedicated to the study of the behaviors of plants. Enter The Society of Plant Neurobiology. which states on its website:

"Plant Neurobiology describes a newly named, but also old and fascinating field in plant biology addressing the physiological basis of adaptive behavior in plants. Perhaps this field could be called "Sensory Biology in Plants" or something similar. However, these names don't quite cover topics like plant cytology and anatomy, adaptive plant behavior, signaling and communication in symbiosis and pathogenesis, or newly emerging topics like for instance plant immunity, plant memory and learning, plant-plant communication, as well as plant intelligence."

This is very convenient for me, as I am currently writing a paper on, among other things, taxonomic bias in definitions of the word 'behavior.' Having gotten input from member of the Animal Behavior Society and the International Society for Applied Ethology, I am thrilled to be able to get the viewpoints of botanists interested in behavior. I emailed the chair of their steering committee, asking her to forward a link to my "what is behavior?" survey to their membership. If she is sympathetic, this could be really cool.

I learned of the existence of SPNb through this article on Check out the video of the parasitic plant sniffing for prey and pouncing on the unsuspecting tomato vine.

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