(STUDY FINDS) -- ITHACA, N.Y. — We may not be able to hear them, but believe it or not, plants are doing plenty of “talking” to each other. That’s the fascinating finding of a new study conducted at Cornell University. Researchers have discovered that plants can indeed communicate among each other to warn of nearby threats and pests. These messages are sent via airborne chemicals, referred to as volatile organic compounds (VOCs), which enable plants to exchange information in complete silence.
To come to their conclusions, the research team studied Solidago altissima, a species of goldenrod very common in the Northeast United States. They observed what happened when a group of herbivore goldenrod leaf beetles were introduced into their living space.
According to head researcher Andre Kessler, a professor of ecology and evolutionary biology at Cornell, the researchers’ most exciting observation was the discovery of what they call “open-channel communication” between plants. Essentially, when plants are under attack from herbivores like the goldenrod leaf beetle, their smells, carried by the aforementioned VOCs, become more alike.
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