In collaboration with Dr. Heidi Appel (Plant Sciences at MU), we have recently begun investigating plants’ ability to perceive herbivore-generated vibrations and respond adaptively to them. The chemical defenses of Arabidopsis plants are primed by exposure to caterpillar feeding vibrations. We are currently exploring the mechanisms underlying the plant’s sensitive vibration detection, the acoustic features necessary for triggering a defensive response, and related questions about plant acoustic sensing.
Appel HM & Cocroft RB. 2014. Plants respond to leaf vibrations caused by insect herbivore chewing. Oecogia (pdf)
Cocroft, RB & Appel, HM. 2013. Comments on “green symphonies.” Behavioral Ecology 2013 doi: 10.1093/beheco/ars230 (pdf)
Dr. Heidi Appel, Plant Sciences & Bond Life Science Center, University of Missouri