An accessible and compelling story of a scientist's discovery of plant communication and how it influenced her research and changed her life.
In this "phytobiography" – a collection of stories written in partnership with a plant – research scientist, Monica Gagliano, reveals the dynamic role plants play in genuine first-hand accounts from her research into plant communication and cognition. By transcending the view of plants as the objects of scientific materialism, Gagliano encourages us to rethink plants as people – beings with subjectivity, consciousness, and volition, and hence having the capacity for their own perspectives and voices. Thus Spoke the Plant draws on up-close-and-personal encounters with the plants themselves, as well as plant shamans, indigenous elders, and mystics from around the world and integrates these experiences with an incredible research journey and the groundbreaking scientific discoveries that emerged from it. Gagliano has published numerous peer-reviewed scientific papers on how plants have a Pavlov-like response to stimuli and can learn, remember, and communicate to neighboring plants. She has pioneered the brand-new research field of plant bioacoustics, for the first time experimentally demonstrating that plants emit their own 'voices' and, moreover, detect and respond to the sounds of their environments. By demonstrating experimentally that learning is not the exclusive province of animals, Gagliano has re-ignited the discourse on plant subjectivity and ethical and legal standing. This is the story of how she made those discoveries and how the plants helped her along the way.
Monica Gagliano, PhD, is Research Associate Professor of Evolutionary Ecology at the Centre of Evolutionary Biology at the University of Western Australia, a Research Affiliate at the Sydney Environment Institute at the University of Sydney, and former Fellow of the Australian Research Council. She is the author of numerous scientific articles in the fields of animal and plant behavioral and evolutionary ecology, and is the co-editor of The Green Thread: Dialogues with the Vegetal World (Lexington Books, 2015) and The Language of Plants: Science, Philosophy and Literature (Minnesota University Press, 2017). Her work has extended the concept of cognition (including perception, learning processes, memory and consciousness) in plants. Gagliano has pioneered the brand-new research field of plant bioacoustics, for the first time experimentally demonstrating that plants emit their own 'voices' and, moreover, detect and respond to the sounds of their environments.