Gagliano, Monica

In this “phytobiography” – a collection of stories written in partnership with a plant – research scientist, Monica Gagliano, reveals the dynamic role plants play in genuine first-hand accounts from her research into plant communication and cognition.  By transcending the view of plants as the objects of scientific materialism, Gagliano encourages us to rethink plants as people -beings with subjectivity, consciousness, and volition, and hence having the capacity for their own perspectives and voices.  The book draws on up-close-and-personal encounters with the plants themselves, as well as plant shamans, indigenous elders, and mystics from around the world and integrates these experiences with an incredible research journey and the groundbreaking scientific discoveries that emerged from it.  Gagliano has published numerous peer-reviewed scientific papers on how plants have a Pavlov-like response to stimuli and can learn, remember, and communicate to neighbouring plants.  She has pioneered the brand new research field of plant bioacoustics, for the first time experimentally demonstrating that plants emit their own ‘voices’ and, moreover, detect and respond to the sounds of their environments.  By demonstrating experimentally that learning is not the exclusive province of animals, Gagliano has reignited the discourse on plant subjectivity and ethical and legal standing.  This is the story of how she made those discoveries and how the plants helped her along the way.

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North Atlantic, November 2018.  176 pages, paperback