Can Trees Talk, Think and Heal?
DR BRIAN PICKLES AND ASSOCIATE PROFESSOR MONICA GAGLIANO
FACILITATED BY PROFESSOR CHRIS DANIELS
NEW VENUE: HALL C, EAST BUILDING, ADELAIDE CONVENTION CENTRE
Presented by The Bob Hawke Prime Ministerial Centre, in arrangement with WOMADelaide Festival’s Planet Talks Program
Pioneering scientists Brian Pickles and Monica Gagliano explore the fascinating hidden world of tree communication, plant cognition and the healing powers of forest bathing. Gagliano’s research has uncovered ‘thinking plants’ while Pickles’ work surrounding mycelium communication networks, dubbed the ‘Wood Wide Web’, has exposed a world where plants and trees share, trade, care for family, display altruism and even wage war.
DR BRIAN PICKLES
Dr Brian Pickles is one of the lead researchers of the University of British Columbia’s Mother Tree project alongside Suzanne Simard. He is behind the ground breaking research that has found that trees communicate with each other.
A pioneer of this aspect of plant science, Prof Suzanne Simard, has dubbed this the “wood wide web”. She has observed that trees pass both information and nutrients to each other through the mycorrhiza. What’s more, they can distinguish between related and unrelated trees, and, for example, send more carbon to their kin than to strangers! It seems to be that trees really do have a preference for sharing with kin, and that it’s the tree making that choice, not the fungus.
Brian was almost a fighter pilot or an astrophysicist, but instead he got dengue fever and became an ecologist. His biggest influences are The Cult, sea turtles, and Kung Fu. He plants trees, teaches students about reptiles and dinosaurs, and has a PhD in Plant Science from Aberdeen University.
ASSOCIATE PROFESSOR MONICA GAGLIANO
Monica Gagliano is radically transforming our perception of plants and more generally, nature. Inspired by her personal encounters with nature and indigenous elders from many parts of the world, she has pioneered the brand-new research field of plant bioacoustics by demonstrating for the first time that plants emit their own ‘voices’ as well as detect and respond to the sounds surrounding them. She has extended the concept of cognition to plants by demonstrating experimentally that plants can learn just like animals do, re-igniting the discourse on plant subjectivity and ethical standing. Her progressive and holistic approach to science interfaces with areas as diverse as ecology, physics, law, anthropology, philosophy, literature, music and art, and spirituality. By re-kindling a sense of awe for this beautiful place we call home, she is creating that fresh imaginative space which inspires truly innovative solutions to arise.
Monica Gagliano is a research associate professor of evolutionary ecology and currently based at the University of Sydney, where she is a senior research fellow at the School of Life and Environmental Sciences. She has pioneered the new research field of plant bioacoustics, for the first time experimentally demonstrating that plants emit their own “voices” and detect and respond to the sounds of their environments.
Monica Gagliano: website
Forbes Magazine: A Mind Without a Brain
YouTube: Plant Intelligence and the Importance of Imagination in Science
YouTube: Are You Smarter than a Plant
FACILITATOR: PROFESSOR CHRIS DANIELS
Professor Chris Daniels is currently a Governor of the World Wildlife Fund, member of the Ocean Science Council of Australia and Patron of the Friends of Woorabinda (Stirling Linear Park), the Marine Discovery Centre, the SA Junior Field Naturalists Society, Councillor of Nature Foundation SA, and Chair of International Koala Centre of Excellence Foundation, among other community and science roles. Chris Daniels is Director of Cleland Wildlife Park and Adjunct Professor of Biology in the School of Pharmacy & Medical Sciences at UniSA. He is also involved in many other environmental leadership activities focused on conserving wildlife and connecting people with nature.
Chris has published 9 books, a DVD and over 250 scientific and community publications. Books include Adelaide Nature of a City (2005) and Adelaide Water of a City (2010). Awards for these books include the Whitley Award, and awards from the Planning Institute of Australia, Stormwater Industry and Australian Institute of Landscape Architects. Chris won the South Australian Premiers Science award for communication (2007) and the Medal for natural history from the Field Naturalists Soc SA (2010).
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Areas of study and research
- Health Research
- Alliance for Research in Exercise, Nutrition and Activity (ARENA)
- Centre for Cancer Biology
- Centre for Drug Discovery and Development
- Centre for Population Health Research
- Centre of Research Excellence for the Prevention of Chronic Conditions in Rural and Remote High Risk Populations
- International Centre for Allied Health Evidence
- Medicine and Device Surveillance CRE
- Quality Use of Medicines and Pharmacy Research Centre
and Social Sciences
- Art, Architecture and Design
- Communication, International Studies and Languages
- Psychology, Social Work and Social Policy
- Hawke Research Institute
- Asia Pacific Centre for Work Health and Safety
- Australian Centre for Child Protection
- Barbara Hardy Institute
- Centre for Research in Education
- Hawke EU Jean Monnet Centre of Excellence
- Centre for Islamic Thought and Education
- International Centre for Muslim and non-Muslim Understanding
- Research Centre for Languages and Cultures
- Zero Waste SA Research Centre for Sustainable Design and Behaviour (sd+b)
IT, Engineering and
- Future Industries Institute
- UniSA College