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Veggie Tales: Plants Communicate with Sound

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A recent study from the University of Western Australia has found that plants regularly react to and emit sounds through a series of clicks produced by their roots, and that such inter-flora communication may be essential to their survival. Evolutionary biologist Monica Gagliano, who made the discovery, listened to the roots of young corn plants and found that they regularly produced sounds in the range of 220Hz, a frequency audible to the human ear.

Plants have been shown to influence each other in many ways through nanomechanical oscillations on a molecular scale. Gagliano remarks, “Scientists also know that plants use volatile chemicals to communicate with each other.”

Another biological research team under the direction of Professor Olaf Kruse, Ph.D., scientific director of the Center for Biotechnology at Germany’s Bielefeld University, has shown that green algae not only engages in photosynthesis, but also has an alternative source of energy: It can draw it from other plants (Nature Communications).

Gagliano comments, “Considering that entire forests are all interconnected by networks of fungi, maybe plants are using fungi the way we use the Internet.”


This article appears in the February 2017 issue of Natural Awakenings.

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