Navigation Links
Do plants perform best with family or strangers? Researchers consider social interactions
Date:11/9/2011

In the fight for survival, plants are capable of complex social behaviours and may exhibit altruism towards family members, but aggressively compete with strangers.

A growing body of work suggests plants recognize and respond to the presence and identity of their neighbours. But can plants cooperate with their relatives? While some studies have shown that siblings perform best -- suggesting altruism towards relatives -- other studies have shown that when less related plants grow together the group can actually outperform siblings. This implies the group benefits from its diversity by dividing precious resources effectively and competing less.

A team from McMaster University suggests plants can benefit from both altruism and biodiversity but when these processes occur at the same time, it is difficult to predict the outcome.

"The greatest challenge for understanding plant social interactions is we can't interpret plant behaviours as easily as we do those of animals," explains Susan Dudley, an associate professor in the Department of Biology at McMaster. "Though we have shown plants change traits in the presence of relatives, we need to determine if this is cooperation. Linking the plant behaviours with their benefits is challenging when multiple processes co-occur."

Dudley and a team of researchers disentangle the sometimes contradictory research in the latest edition of the Proceedings of the Royal Society B, describing how the identity and presence of neighbours affect many processes acting on plant populations.

The problem, she says, is that plant social interactions are treated as a black box, with researchers only looking at the output, or the fitness of the plant, in sibling competition. But they need to investigate the mechanisms inside the box -- by describing how traits of individuals affect fitness -- to understand how the output is reached and which mechanisms are occurring to get there.

"Simply put, social environment matters to plants. If we first acknowledge that kin cooperation and resource partitioning are co-occurring, we can begin to address some very important questions," says Amanda File, a graduate student in the Department of Biology at McMaster.

"Among these questions is whether there is a link between kin recognition and plant performance, whether plant kin recognition can improve crop yield and how kin recognition shapes communities and ecosystems" says Guillermo Murphy, a graduate student in the Department of Biology at McMaster.


'/>"/>
Contact: Susan Dudley
sdudley@mcmaster.ca
McMaster University
Source:Eurekalert

Related biology news :

1. Commercial aquatic plants offer cost-effective method for treating wastewater
2. UC Riverside biochemists devise method for bypassing aluminum toxicity effects in plants
3. Reproducing early and often is the key to rapid evolution in plants
4. MSU scientists find new gene that helps plants beat the heat
5. Researchers design artificial cells that could power medical implants
6. When under attack, plants can signal microbial friends for help
7. Current mass extinction spurs major study of which plants to save
8. Scientists unveil mechanism for up and down in plants
9. New hybrid plants could prompt more prodigious pepper production in Southwest
10. Extreme weather postpones the flowering time of plants
11. Even plants benefit from outsourcing
Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:
(Date:2/3/2016)... , February 3, 2016 ... new market research report "Automated Fingerprint Identification System Market ... Latent Search), Application (Banking & Finance, Government, Healthcare, and ... by MarketsandMarkets, the market is expected to be worth ... of 21.0% between 2015 and 2020. The transformation and ...
(Date:2/3/2016)... , Feb. 3, 2016 ... the addition of the "Emotion Detection ... Machine Learning, and Others), Software Tools (Facial ... Areas, End Users,and Regions - Global forecast ... --> http://www.researchandmarkets.com/research/d8zjcd/emotion_detection ) has ...
(Date:2/2/2016)... NEW YORK , Feb. 2, 2016 /PRNewswire/ ... analysis of the bioinformatic market by reviewing the ... computer enabled tools that drive the field forward. ... report to: Identify the challenges and opportunities ... service providers and software solution developers, as well ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:2/9/2016)... (PRWEB) , ... February 08, 2016 , ... ... p.m. , Location: Baruch S. Blumberg Institute at the Pennsylvania Biotechnology Center of ... Blumberg Institute and The Commonwealth Medical College (TCMC) will hold an open house ...
(Date:2/9/2016)... , ... February 09, 2016 , ... Tunnell Consulting, Inc. ... Based in Paris, he will focus on acquiring new accounts and work closely with ... , “Fred brings to our European clients more than 15 years of ...
(Date:2/9/2016)... ... February 09, 2016 , ... ... for Public Policy for the National Organization for Rare Disorders (NORD). Dorman will ... ensure their voices are heard throughout the drug regulatory review process. , “Adding ...
(Date:2/9/2016)... LONDON , February 9, 2016 ... replace paper and protect IP   E-WorkBook ... will be rolled out in Germany ... and protect valuable IP. Users will be able to search ... or experiment as part of the application, to boost collaboration ...
Breaking Biology Technology: