291 pages, b/w illustrations
Plant Behaviour and Intelligence 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.
"This book provides a comprehensive treatment of plant behaviour and intelligence [and] is full of fascinating insights. [...] This is a fascinating book, but not expressly targeted at an ecological readership. [...] If you think behavioural ecology is a branch of animal ecology. this book should change your mind."
– John Hopkins, The Bulletin of the British Ecological Society 46(1), March 2015
" [...] we believe that applying the rich theoretical perspectives of behavioral ecology to plants can only help scientists to appreciate and better understand the evolutionary significance of plant behavior. And at the very least, this book will likely inspire a bit more respect for a kingdom of master problem-solvers who happen to march to the beat of their own (very slow) drum."
– Andrew G. Zink and Zheng-Hui He, Science
"Anthony Trewavas at the University of Edinburgh became the first person to seriously broach the topic of plant intelligence. Trewavas defines intelligence as the ability to sense one's environment, to process and integrate such sensory perceptions and decide on how to behave [...] You'll stop doubting that plants aren't intelligent organisms because they are behaving in ways that you expect animals to behave"
– Anil Anathaswamy, New Scientist
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?
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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.