The sedentary lifestyle of plants can give the false impression that they are passive participants in interactions with other organisms and the broader environment. In fact, plants have evolved sophisticated perceptual abilities that allow them to monitor and respond to a wide range of changing biotic and abiotic conditions. In this paper, we discuss recent research exploring the diverse ways in which plant sensory abilities mediate interactions between plants and animals, especially insects. Such interactions include the detection and capture of animal prey by carnivorous plants, active plant responses to pollinator visitation, the perception of various cues associated with the immediate presence and feeding of herbivores, and plant responses to (olfactory) cues indicating the threat of future herbivory. We are only beginning to understand the full range of sensory cues that mediate such interactions and to elucidate the mechanisms by which plants perceive, interpret, and respond to them. Nevertheless, it is clear that plants continually gather information about their environments via a range of sensory modalities and actively respond in ways that profoundly influence their interactions with other organisms.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Plant Science