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Project Advisor 1
Communication is a cornerstone of organisms' fitness and survivability. Whether announcing a food source or warning of danger, the ability to communicate shares the benefits of a group’s collective senses, rather than relying on an individual. When imagining these behaviors, a tomato plant may hardly be what comes to mind, yet plants are surprisingly more receptive to inter- and intraspecies communication than one may originally think. In the case of attack from herbivory, certain plants will emit volatile organic compounds (VOCs) through the air, which other plants may receive and use to activate certain defense genes, even before the plant itself is attacked. Alongside VOCs, certain plants will emit an ultrasonic “squeal” at a consistent rate throughout the course of the stressor. Previous studies done with flowering plants and bees shows that the ultrasonic noise produced by the vibration of nearby bees increases the concentration of sugar in the plants' nectar to attract the pollinators. Given that plants are capable of physiologic changes triggered by environmental cues, I plan to observe the physiological changes that occur in plants within environments containing ultrasound. Ultrasonic noise pollution is a growing concern in a rapidly modernizing world, and understanding the connection between plants' response to this noise, may help inform farmers and agricultural technology in order to minimize damage.
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Smith, Parker Kendall, "An Investigation into a Potential Ultrasound Mediated Stress Response Pathway in Plants" (2021). Senior Projects Spring 2021. 69.
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