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State dependence, personality, and plants: light ‐ foraging decisions in Mimosa pudica (L.)

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ABSTRACT

Plants make foraging decisions that are dependent on ecological conditions, such as resource availability and distribution. Despite the field of plant behavioral ecology gaining momentum, ecologists still know little about what factors impact plant behavior, especially light‐foraging behavior. We made use of the behavioral reaction norm approach to investigate light foraging in a plant species that exhibits rapid movement: Mimosa pudica. We explored how herbivore avoidance behavior in M. pudica (which closes its leaflets temporarily when disturbed) is affected by an individual's energy state and the quality of the current environment and also repeatedly tested the behavior of individuals from two seed sources to determine whether individuals exhibit a “personality” (i.e., behavioral syndrome). We found that when individuals are in a low‐energy state, they adopt a riskier light‐foraging strategy, opening leaflets faster, and not closing leaflets as often in response to a disturbance. However, when plants are in a high‐energy state, they exhibit a plastic light‐foraging strategy dependent on environment quality. Although we found no evidence that individuals exhibit behavioral syndromes, we found that individuals from different seed sources consistently behave differently from each other. Our results suggest that plants are capable of making state‐dependent decisions and that plant decision making is complex, depending on the interplay between internal and external factors.

No MeSH data available.


Mimosa pudica, the sensitive plant. The image includes a flower, a fully open leaf (left), and a leaf that has been disturbed and has temporarily closed (right). Photographic credit: Christina Hodson.
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ece32340-fig-0001: Mimosa pudica, the sensitive plant. The image includes a flower, a fully open leaf (left), and a leaf that has been disturbed and has temporarily closed (right). Photographic credit: Christina Hodson.

Mentions: We investigate how individual Mimosa pudica (Linnaeus; the sensitive plant; Fig. 1) make light‐foraging decisions based on several environmental factors. Mimosa pudica is an ideal system to work with to investigate behavioral principles in plants as these plants exhibit a rapid herbivore avoidance behavior where they close their leaflets when stimulated and are also able to moderate light‐foraging behavior in response to environmental conditions. Mimosa pudica antiherbivore behavior was previously investigated by Jensen et al. (2011) to assess whether plants in darker conditions (i.e., in a resource poor environment) would exhibit riskier behavior and open their leaflets faster after a disturbance compared to plants in light conditions. In congruence with optimal foraging theory, plants were found to take longer to open leaflets after being disturbed when in high resource conditions.


State dependence, personality, and plants: light ‐ foraging decisions in Mimosa pudica (L.)
Mimosa pudica, the sensitive plant. The image includes a flower, a fully open leaf (left), and a leaf that has been disturbed and has temporarily closed (right). Photographic credit: Christina Hodson.
© Copyright Policy - creativeCommonsBy
Related In: Results  -  Collection

License
Show All Figures
getmorefigures.php?uid=PMC5016650&req=5

ece32340-fig-0001: Mimosa pudica, the sensitive plant. The image includes a flower, a fully open leaf (left), and a leaf that has been disturbed and has temporarily closed (right). Photographic credit: Christina Hodson.
Mentions: We investigate how individual Mimosa pudica (Linnaeus; the sensitive plant; Fig. 1) make light‐foraging decisions based on several environmental factors. Mimosa pudica is an ideal system to work with to investigate behavioral principles in plants as these plants exhibit a rapid herbivore avoidance behavior where they close their leaflets when stimulated and are also able to moderate light‐foraging behavior in response to environmental conditions. Mimosa pudica antiherbivore behavior was previously investigated by Jensen et al. (2011) to assess whether plants in darker conditions (i.e., in a resource poor environment) would exhibit riskier behavior and open their leaflets faster after a disturbance compared to plants in light conditions. In congruence with optimal foraging theory, plants were found to take longer to open leaflets after being disturbed when in high resource conditions.

View Article: PubMed Central - PubMed

ABSTRACT

Plants make foraging decisions that are dependent on ecological conditions, such as resource availability and distribution. Despite the field of plant behavioral ecology gaining momentum, ecologists still know little about what factors impact plant behavior, especially light‐foraging behavior. We made use of the behavioral reaction norm approach to investigate light foraging in a plant species that exhibits rapid movement: Mimosa pudica. We explored how herbivore avoidance behavior in M. pudica (which closes its leaflets temporarily when disturbed) is affected by an individual's energy state and the quality of the current environment and also repeatedly tested the behavior of individuals from two seed sources to determine whether individuals exhibit a “personality” (i.e., behavioral syndrome). We found that when individuals are in a low‐energy state, they adopt a riskier light‐foraging strategy, opening leaflets faster, and not closing leaflets as often in response to a disturbance. However, when plants are in a high‐energy state, they exhibit a plastic light‐foraging strategy dependent on environment quality. Although we found no evidence that individuals exhibit behavioral syndromes, we found that individuals from different seed sources consistently behave differently from each other. Our results suggest that plants are capable of making state‐dependent decisions and that plant decision making is complex, depending on the interplay between internal and external factors.

No MeSH data available.