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The Sensory Biology, Communication, Memory and Intelligence of Plants
By Hyrandir Melo
This book explores the different cognitive skills of plants, mainly through a physiological approach. Some of these skills have been known for a long time, such as light perception and communication by hormonal signaling, while others are less widely known. Cognitive skills are the basis for our understanding of the intelligent behavior of plants, and, by exploring this behavior, we have seen that plants are not only able to detect the presence, and realize the importance for their development, of various elements in the environment, but also that they are able to recognize themselves and their relatives, and to memorize, learn, communicate, and even deliberately modify the environment for their own benefit. This book shows that such capabilities of plants are evidence that cognitive abilities are not an exclusive skill of specific cells of the nervous system and reveal previously unexplored potentialities of nonspecific cells that occur in various plant tissues and organs.
Studies of plant intelligence enable us to understand aspects of plant behavior that are in disagreement with commonly known, linearized stimulus-response effects, like plant sensitization and desensitization, and also provide a basis for the construction of new technological tools useful to the human-plant relationship. Also, such studies are in alignment with contemporary concepts of intelligence as a universalized manifestation, which, according to some studies in astrobiology, goes beyond the concept of intelligence linked to a human property, and permeates all biological systems. As such, the book contributes towards a broader awareness of the behavioral foundations of living organisms as a whole, as well as underscoring the innovative and awesome current situation in which we can teach plants and they can learn, for example, how to defend themselves from agents of damage to which they have not yet been exposed. Such human-plant interaction can produce great advancements in agriculture and reveal mechanisms capable of making it more sustainable.
The aggregation of different knowledge inherent to sensory biology, communication, memory, and intelligent behavior, approaching them through physiological bases widely known in plant biology, and carrying out discussions interconnecting these different fields were the main challenges of this book. As such, multidisciplinary work was needed to address aspects ranging from morphology to metabolomics, and from microbiology to agricultural production, culminating in a study that will inform such disciplines as plant physiology, plant neurobiology, plant electrophysiology, cytology, histology, phytosociology, biochemistry, genetics, ecology, evolution, and entomology, amongst many others.
This book will be of interest not only to university students and professors, but also researchers from any disciplines in which plants are an element of study. It will also be useful as a source of knowledge for scientific journalism looking to inform about scientific advances in the fields of intelligence, plant biology, and plant behavior.
Hyrandir Melo holds a PhD in Plant Physiology from the Universidade Federal de Lavras, Brazil and is an Associate Professor in the Department of Botany at the Universidade Federal de Goiás, Brazil. Throughout his academic career, in addition to teaching, he has dedicated himself to research in the field of photosensory biology and plant stresses.
The Sensory Biology, Communication, Memory and Intelligence of Plants is available now in Hardback at a 25% discount. Enter code PROMO25 at checkout to redeem. eBook available via Google Play.