Red Deer River Naturalists

The Red Deer river Naturalists are a group dedicated to learning about and preserving natural history. They have regular programs with speakers and many field trips.


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Friday, March 29, 2013

Dr. J Cahill Speaks to the Red Deer River Naturalists

    On Thur Mar. 28 Dr James Cahill gave a talk to the Red Deer River Naturalists (RDRN) on Foraging animal plants: An investigation into brainless behavior.  When I saw the title I thought , "Well, this could be freaky!"  It turned out to be  a talk that gave me much more to think about than many other talks.

    Dr Cahill started off by showing us that animals have many behaviors that help them feed themselves, protect themselves  or help one another. Then he said he began wondering if plants had the ability to change their behavior to adapt to conditions that either vary or if behavior was different in diverse locations. 

   He started with simple things like how plants can wilt in hot bright sunlight and then recuperate when the temperature drops and the sun goes down. He has shown that plant kin look after each other. If something attacks one plant, the plant or the attacker gives off odors that only kin plants pick up and then protect themselves. Non family plants in the same area are harmed.

    So Dr Cahill showed us many instances where plants have a behavior that allows them to survive even though they are brainless.

    Dr Cahill's talk was filled with photos and data that illustrated what he talked about. The talk was made most enjoyable as he was energetic and humorous. 

   If you want and excellent speaker on plants , I would highly recommend Dr. Cahill.

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