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Home » Books » Science » Biology » Ecology

Plant Behaviour and Intelligence

By Anthony Trewavas

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Format: Paperback, 304 pages
Published In: United Kingdom, 23 July 2015
This book provides a convincing argument for the view that whole cells and whole plants growing in competitive wild conditions show aspects of plant behaviour that can be accurately described as 'intelligent'. Trewavas argues that behaviour, like intelligence, must be assessed within the constraints of the anatomical and physiological framework of the organism in question. The fact that plants do not have centralized nervous systems for example, does not exclude intelligent behaviour. Outside the human dimension, culture is thought largely absent and fitness is the biological property of value. Thus, solving environmental problems that threaten to reduce fitness is another way of viewing intelligent behaviour and has a similar meaning to adaptively variable behaviour. The capacity to solve these problems might be considered to vary in different organisms, but variation does not mean absence. By extending these ideas into a book that allows a critical and amplified discussion, the author hopes to raise an awareness of the concept of purposive behaviour in plants.

Table of Contents

1. A feeling for the organism ; 2. Plant behaviour foundations ; 3. The origins of photosynthesis. 1.What are the salient characteristics of living systems? ; 4. The origins of photosynthesis. 2. The evolution of life and photosynthesis ; 5. Why did plants become multicellular? ; 6. Convergent evolution is common in plant systems ; 7. Are angiosperms more complex than mammals? ; 8. Plant behaviour: first intimations of self organisation ; 9. The varieties of plant behaviour ; 10. The self organising plant: lessons from swarm intelligence ; 11. Self-organisation: Cambium as the integration assessor ; 12. Self-organising capacity in leaf behaviour ; 13. Self-organisation and behaviour in root systems ; 14. Self-organisation in response to gravity ; 15. Signals other than gravity ; 16. Behavioural characteristics of seeds: elements of dormancy ; 17. Games plants play ; 18. Competition and cooperation between individual plants for mates and territory: the recognition of self ; 19. The nature of intelligent behaviour: cognition or adaptation? ; 20. Brains and nerve cells are not necessary for intelligent behaviour ; 21. Intelligent genomes ; 22. Cellular basis of intelligent behaviour ; 23. Cell organisation and protein networks ; 24. Instinct, reflex and conditioned behaviours: characteristics of plant behaviour? ; 25. Intelligence and consciousness ; 26. Intelligent foraging?

About the Author

Anthony Trewavas obtained his B.Sc and Ph.D from University College, London in Biochemistry and went to do post doctoral research at the University of East Anglia and the University of Edinburgh, where he became Professor of Plant Biochemistry, as well as undertaking numerous visiting professorships abroad. He has published 250 papers and two books, and is an elected Fellow of the Royal Society of London, the Royal Society of Edinburgh, and Academia Europea and has been elected as a Life Member of the American Society of Plant Biology.


Biologists everywhere (but especially zoologists or zoo-minded botanists) should read and heed this book. * Nigel Chaffey, Annals of Botony * [E]ngaging, interesting, and thought provoking, with a deep commitment and introspection into the world of plant behavior and intelligence from a multi-disciplinary and multi-dimensional perspective and is, most possibly, the first volume of its kind. ... The volume will be useful for both undergraduate and graduate students of botany, plant science, forestry, plant ecology, and evolution. This could also be helpful for introductory courses in biology, biological sciences, life sciences, and environmental sciences and as an introductory resource for agriculture courses. Enthusiastic readers outside academia interested in plant life, ecology, and evolution will also find this volume engaging. * Plant Science Bulletin * Trewavas ... moves effortlessly from mechanistic research to invigorating insights into real-world plant behaviour. * Ian T. Baldwin, Nature * The fact that the ideas presented in this book will probably not always be easy to accept gives it a unique value. There are oceans of data papers and books, but many fewer intriguing and inspiring ones. Given the, in general, historically wrong view about plants as almost inanimate creatures, they have not been studied as deeply as have animals. Therefore, there are many aspects of plant biology, especially those that can illuminate their behavior and intelligence, that have been left almost untouched. If this book stimulates researchers to address descriptively, theoretically, and experimentally these many overlooked or neglected aspects of plant biology, the book will be a great success, because it is certainly not a typical scientific book, but rather a manifesto. * Simcha Lev-Yadun, Trends in Ecology & Evolution *

EAN: 9780198753681
ISBN: 0198753683
Publisher: Oxford University Press
Dimensions: 24.6 x 18.9 x 1.4 centimetres (0.66 kg)
Age Range: 15+ years
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