Thompson Rivers University

Environmental Science Seminar Series: a behavioural perspective of plant foraging

Dr. James Cahill, Department of Biological Sciences at the University of Alberta presents Notes from underground: A behavioural perspective of plant foraging as part of the Environmental Science Seminar Series.

❏ More lectures in the ESS series


Organisms faced with patchily distributed resources balance costs and benefits of alternative patch-use decisions as part of an overall foraging strategy. In this talk, I will discuss how integration of behavioural concepts and approaches provides novel insights, leading to greater understanding for plant biology and ecology.

I will describe what we have learned about how plant stress and social interactions impact root foraging decisions, with particular emphasis on Helianthus annuus.

will also discuss the defense of leaf closure in Mimosa pudica, and how it may best be understood through a behavioural lens.

More broadly, my lab group is demonstrating complex behavioural phenomena are not restricted to seemingly complex animals. The contingency of plant foraging suggests similarity of ultimate causes among organisms living in a patchy world, even when proximate mechanisms involved differ.