HRS177|Spring2015

Love Your Environment!

This week was a very interesting session as we touched upon a very important yet unpopular subject: plants! As an MCDB major, DNA, genomics, and the human body are the main interests of the students and faculty involved. For my major, we have to complete a lab requirement and I chose the class that focused on plants. Many of my peers looked at me obliviously, asking why would I take such a class for my laboratory requirement when I could have chosen something more interesting. I am one of the few in my major that likes plants and enjoys learning about them.

Plants in Pain? An Interesting Idea with Many Misconceptions.

Pain in general terms is understood to be an indication that something is wrong with the body. It involves the central nervous system which consists of nerves, synapses, the spinal cord and the brain. Nerves detect an aggravator and an impulse is sent to the brain from the spinal cord via a complex network of neurons and synapse reactions involving electrical impulses through axons and dendrites. 

Do plants have feelings?

Last lecture, we were shown a lot of movies, many of which documented about the sleeping grass and its behavior when being touched. When I saw the sleeping grass, it reminded me of my childhood game. Whenever my cousin and I saw the sleeping grass, we would touch every stem and leaf to have all them close and told my grandmother that we were tickling the plants. Hence, do plants have feelings like pain or tickle? There was a movie filming about the experiment on how plants react to pain. At first, the researcher used a metal stick to touch the sleeping grass.

Hydroponic/Aquaponic Age

Much of our daily routine involves the usage of genetically modified material. Whether its plant of animal material in the products you use, you can be certain that some technological innovation gave it existence. I'm not against GMO's in their entirety - they help both starving and overfed countries meet their consumption quotas. Fortunately, I'm not a GMO venture capitalist: I'm sure there are some health repercussions dealing with pesticide resistance and what not. 

...What are Plants?!

This week we watched a lot of videos in class that made me question everything I thought I knew about plants. Some, I could rationalize – for instance, when the Russian scientists killed a plant in front of another, and the plant would pick up on it as seen on a lie detector, I thought “Oh, that plant is probably releasing chemicals or some sort of signal to warn the other plant.” But others, I could not, such as Dr. and Mrs. Hashimoto’s “conversations” with their plants. I was shocked by how human-like the plants sounded, and how they were “repeating” after Mrs.

The plant culture

No doubt plants have life, but to what extent is their life compared to animal and human lives? Do plants have consciousness and emotions like us humans do? Are humans so different from plants and other parts of the ecosystem after all? These are some thought-provoking questions that last lecture left to me.

Understanding Plants

Despite lacking brains and neural tissue, plants have elegant electrical systems that allow them to react to their environment. Recently, there has been much compelling research to suggest that plants also possess sophisticated systems of learning and memory. For example, studies have shown that certain plants can participate in classical conditioning by associating a light or heat cue with an unpleasant stimulus such as an electrical shock. In the case of Mimosa pudica, the plant will close and retract its leaves more quickly with each trial.

Plants: We Are One

We all know that plants are living creatures, just like animals, which are multicellular and need water, food (nutrients), and energy (sunlight) to live. But, who knew that plants could sing and dance and possibly have feelings too? My first encounter with a "human-like" plant was this flower plant I have at home (pictured below) with bright pink petals that open during the day and close at night. These types of plants have circadian rhythms and go to 'sleep' at night just like we do. According to Dr.

Plants are People too?

In grade school, many of us are taught that one of the main characteristics that distinguishes animals from plants is their ability to move. Generally, this is true. Animals have muscles and can move. Plants have roots and are puppets to the wind. However, as we get deeper into the education system, we discover several exceptions to even the most fundamental concepts we were taught. For example, there are plants that CAN move. The Desmodium motorium, perhaps better known as the “dancing plant”, is able to rotate its leaves and “dance”.

Growing a Green Thumb

As humans we see ourselves as looking down at all other organisms from atop the food chain. We have won the evolutionary arms race against animals and plants and now domesticate our conquests. Hominins were once hunter gatherers, moving along the landscape and foraging wild plants and animals. And then we began to change and adopt domestication and agriculture. In my anthropology class we learned about the Domestication Syndrome which explains how plant changed as they began to be domesticated. Wild corn called teosinte had few grains that were often hard to pick.

So What About Plants?

In Thursday’s lecture, Professor Vesna spoke about plants in a way I have never conceived. She said that plants “have feelings.” I was instantly put off guard and thought that there was no proof or evidence she could bring to sway my dogma that plants were just organisms that provide CO2 to the earth. They cant be like us humans who think, feel, and sense things around us. But, I was wrong. Plants, like animals, have feelings and a consciousness.

what does the plant say?

This week’s class delved into the multi-faceted nature of the plant, from its role in the human diet and society, to its proposed self-awareness. While I really found everything we discussed to be quite interesting, what really got me thinking is this idea that plants have a sense of awareness that extends beyond what most of us could ever imagine.

Plant Senses

This week's lecture inspired me to think more about our relationship with plants. As I discovered during our foraging activity, humans and plants interact in a common world, and our fates are intertwined when our paths meet. We discussed "The Botany of Desire" by Michael Pollan, where he takes a unique approach to demonstrate how people and plants have formed a reciprocal relationship.

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