Thought of going to a Gordon Research Conference on talking plants?

If I had some spare time, I would love to learn more about plant volatiles, so I would go to the GRC on them. Sometimes the best meetings are farthest from your expertise. If you go to such, GRC meetings are a good choice. I’ve been to microbial cell adhesion, to genes and behavior, to human population genetics, or some such thing. I’ve been to microbial population biology, and to symbiosis. From all I learn.

But there is something really alluring about plant volatiles. After all, how sweet does a rose smell? These volatiles are plant’s ways of talking, from a silken and sexy whisper to a scream from a caterpillar’s wound.


For me, my most Proustian memory is of a smell, the eucalyptus of Chapultepec Park, an early childhood haunt in a Mexico City that is no more.

I think I like the topic also because it crosses kingdoms and fields. Volatiles are a plant’s way of behaving. They interface with insects and microbes. They are a summer’s day. So check out this and other Gordon Conferences, now at the darkest time of the year!

Just don’t forget Tweeting is forbidden!


About Joan E. Strassmann

Evolutionary biologist, studies social behavior in insects & microbes, interested in education, travel, birds, tropics, nature, food; biology professor at Washington University in St. Louis
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