Collective Behaviour - Winter Seminar Series 2022/23

The Collective Behaviour of Plants

Kaz Uyehara

This event is part of an event series „CASCB Winter Semester Series 2022/23“.

Plants respond to both biotic and abiotic information in their environment by changing their posture, movement, and body plan. These dynamic responses to their environment allow plants to "behave" in ways that ultimately increase their fitness. In this talk, I will introduce how plant behavior is an emergent phenomenon on the scale of the individual and the community. As individual plants are built of modular parts and lack a hierarchically organized nervous system, plant decisions must emerge from local interactions between individual organs. Thus, to understand plant decisions at the scale of the individual, one must understand the collective of organs that make up a plant. Since plants can actively sense the proximity of neighboring plants, they also have explicitly social behaviors. These social behaviors can have large impacts on the entire plant community and reinforce the fact that plant growth in nature must be understood in a game theory context. I will present a set of experiments and models that seek to combine plant physiology, game theory, and collective behavior to explain important aspects of plant ecology.

Kaz Uyehara studied Biology at Swarthmore College and then received his PhD in Ecology and Evolutionary Biology from Princeton University. His PhD work was focused on the self-organization of plant growth and the game theory of plant architecture. In 2019, Kaz started a postdoc with the MPI of Animal Behavior to study the growth behaviors of sunflowers. Now Kaz is collaborating with Dr. Alex Jordan, Dr. Oliver Deussen, and Dr. Mark van Kleunen to continue his work on sunflowers with the CASCB, where he combines plant ecology, computer science, and mathematics to study the collective behavior of sunflowers.

Datum: 2023-01-16