Sioux Falls Zoologists

"Persistence and determination alone are omnipotent!"

The mirror test is an experiment developed in 1970 by psychologist Gordon Gallup Jr. to determine whether an animal possesses the ability to recognize itself in a mirror. It is the primary indicator of self-awareness in non-human animals and marks entrance to the mirror stage by human children in developmental psychology. Animals that pass mirror test are: Humans older than 18 mo, Chimpanzees, Bonobos, Orangutans, Gorillas, Bottlenose Dolphins, Orcas (Killer Whales), Elephants, and European Magpies. Others showing signs of self-awareness are Pigs, some Gibbons, Rhesus Macaques, Capuchin Monkeys, some Corvids (Crows & Ravens) and Pigeons w/training. (Sorry Kitty!)

Sioux Falls Zoologists endorse What Plants Talk About for showing us
that over 400 million years of land plant evolution can produce plants
that communicate, co-operate, fight and even care for their young.

What Plants Talk About

What Plants Talk About (2013) - 60 minutes
What Plants Talk About at Amazon.com

Hard core science is effortlessly integrated with a light-hearted look at how plants behave, revealing a world where plants are as busy, responsive and complex as we are. From the stunning heights of the Great Basin Desert to the lush coastal rainforests of west coast Canada, plant ecologist J.C. Cahill and a variety of other experts in plant communication take us on a journey into the "secret world of plants," revealing an astonishing landscape where plants eavesdrop on each other, talk to their allies, call in insect mercenaries and nurture their young. It is a world of pulsing activity, where plants communicate, co-operate, and sometimes wage all-out war. Come along for the ride and discover that plants are a lot less passive and a lot more intelligent than you think!

8-14-19 Plant growth has declined drastically around the world due to dry air
A lack of water vapour in the atmosphere has caused a global decline in plant growth over the past two decades, resulting in a decline in growth rates in 59 per cent of vegetated areas worldwide. Studying four global climate datasets, Wenping Yuan at Sun Yat-sen University in Zhuhai, China and his colleagues found that the decline is correlated with a vapour pressure deficit in the atmosphere, which has increased sharply over more than 53 percent of vegetated areas since the late 1990s. Vapour pressure deficit (VPD) is the difference between the pressure that would be exerted by water vapour when the air is fully saturated and the pressure it actually exerts. When this deficit increases, the pores on the surface of leaves that facilitate gas exchange close up, resulting in lower photosynthesis rates. The complex dynamics of climate change may be responsible, says Yuan. There has been a decrease in wind speeds over the oceans, which means water vapour doesn’t blow over land as readily, and can lead to this deficit over vegetated areas. The warming planet also plays a role. At a given temperature, the atmosphere can only hold a certain amount of water vapour. As temperatures on land increase, the upper limit on the amount of water vapour the atmosphere can hold increases, so the deficit gets larger, he says. The team analysed satellite images and found a corresponding drop in the growth rates of global vegetation and leaf coverage, which had previously increased between 1982 and 1998. They also looked at the width of tree rings, which is commonly used as a measure of growth. After 1998, there was a decrease in average ring width at more than 100 of 171 sites around the world.

2-14-18 Dirty talk: How pollution is snuffing out plants’ scent messages
Plants use a fragrant language but filthy air is messing with their communication lines, which might explain why insects are in decline and roses are losing their scent. IN THE classic post-apocalyptic novel The Day of the Triffids, giant carnivorous plants terrorise humanity. Triffids can walk and are equipped with venomous stingers, but their real power lies in their ability to communicate and so plot against us. It sounds far-fetched, but since John Wyndham’s book was published in 1951, one aspect of this fiction has proved to be science fact: plants do talk to one another. If you stroll through a forest and take a deep breath, you can smell the “words” – complex volatile chemicals such as beta-pinene, which smells fresh and piney. Plants produce thousands of these, combining them to create “sentences”. However, this fragrant language is under threat. Air pollution is disrupting floral scents, turning their messages into gibberish. Not only is this having an impact on plants’ abilities to survive, it is also bad news for pollinating insects – and for us, because it affects everything from crop yields to the smell of our favourite flowers. Luckily, there is a way we can help our botanical friends fight back. It has long been known that insects such as pollinators and pests can distinguish between plants by the unique bouquet of chemicals they release. What’s new is the idea that plants use their emissions to talk among themselves. “Plants release volatile chemicals into the atmosphere – these can be viewed as a language in the sense that a plant releasing the chemicals can be viewed as ‘speaking’ and the plant receiving them as ‘listening’ and then responding,” says chemical ecologist James Blande at the University of Eastern Finland.

10-4-17 José Dinneny rethinks how plants hunt for water
José Dinneny rethinks how plants hunt for water
Studies probe the very beginnings of root growth. José Dinneny studies how plants grow under stress, with insights that could be helpful in feeding a growing population. José Dinneny wants us to see plants as stranger things. “They’re able to integrate information and make coherent decisions without a nervous system, without a brain,” he points out. Plus, plants find water without sight or touch. For too many of us, however, lawns, salads and pots on a sunny windowsill make plants so familiar we’ve become blind to how exotic they are. “We’re out searching the solar system and the galaxy for extraterrestrial life,” says Dinneny, 39, “and we have aliens on our own planet.” The thrill of discovering plants’ alien ways drives Dinneny to explore how roots search for water. His research group, at the Carnegie Institution for Science labs in Stanford, Calif., “runs on curiosity,” he says. His work could have practical food security and geopolitical consequences. Dinneny is passionate about the molecular whys and hows of regulating plant growth. From a background in basic plant development, he moved to questions of environmental stress. These questions are important in “this huge crisis we face as a species,” says Jonathan Lynch, a root biologist at Penn State and the University of Nottingham in England. Knowing how to grow plants in environments degraded by climate change will be crucial to feeding an exploding human population.

What Plants Talk About

Sioux Falls Zoologists endorse What Plants Talk About for showing us
that over 400 million years of land plant evolution can produce plants
that communicate, co-operate, fight and even care for their young.