Do plants think? Can they? These interesting questions beg for definitions -- of 'thinking' and 'remembering' and 'behavior' and how these traits might be useful for plants and their communities. Pursuit of these ideas starts with understanding of how plants work, what makes a plant planty? Plant physiology and development can be considered behavior; examples include germination, growth, and reproduction! So what is the physiological basis for plant behavior? We know some answers to this question: plants have multitudes of sensory systems, ways of storing information, and predictable responses. But many fundamental questions remain, including whether or not plants are able to think -- do they have cognition, how do they remember, can they make decisions? We will discuss how to go about answering these questions, and why we might benefit from knowing the answers.
Dr. Elizabeth Van Volkenburgh is a Professor Emerita of Plant Science at the University of Washington, Seattle. She has served as the President of the society for Plant Signaling and Behavior. She will be joining us via ZOOM, but we will be holding the meeting in person also.
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