Friday, August 6, 2010: 8:00 AM-11:30 AM
303-304, David L Lawrence Convention Center
The notion of chemical communication between plants and other
organisms has gone from being viewed as a fringe idea to an
accepted ecological phenomenon only recently. Within the past
two years, the number of published examples of this phenomenon
has more than doubled. Ecologists have also realized that
communication involving volatile chemicals is commonly involved
in diverse roles that were previously not suspected, such as the
physiological integration among ramets of an individual plant.
Volatile communication is associated with a variety of ecological
consequences that are not exhibited by vascular or other more
'hidden' signaling modes. Chemical communication involving
volatile signals should be faster, more localized, and less
private than communication involving vascular plant connections.
These properties are likely to have far-reaching consequences that
are beginning to be explored, including eavesdropping and other
forms of cheating by individuals and species that were not intended
to be participants in the communication by the signal emitter.
Thus volatile plant communication has unique consequences for
competitors, predators, parasites and prey, and indeed for the
entire community and ecosystem.
Recent empirical work has greatly increased our awareness of these
varied interactions while recent theoretical advances have made us
consider of potential advantages and limitations of communication
as well as the situations where we expect it to be evolutionarily
We have organized the speakers to build from specific systems to
broader synthesis. The first speakers will provide state of the art
descriptions of the wide number of ways that plants communicate with
each other or with a variety of animals. These will include signals
used by plants to attract bodyguards, signals used by parasitic
plants to find hosts, signals used to attract pollinators and other
mutualists, and chemical mediation of soil processes.
The later speakers will address the evolution, modeling, and
consequences of plant signaling, presenting overviews of the
advantages and costs of communication between plants, comparison
of volatile and vascular signaling, chemically mediated interaction
between herbivores and mutualists, the role of chemical signaling
in ecological interactions, and the theory of signal evolution in
a tritrophic context.