Associate Professor Monica Gagliano

RESEARCHER

School of Life and Environmental Sciences

Monica Gagliano is a research associate professor in evolutionary ecology and former fellow of the Australian Research Council. She is now based at the University of Sydney as a Research Affiliate at the Sydney Environment Institute and a Senior Research Fellow at the School of Life and Environmental Sciences. In the School of Life and Environmental Sciences, she has established the brand new BI Lab–Biological Intelligence Lab as part of the Diverse Intelligences Initiative of the Templeton World Charity Foundation. Though she began her career by studying animal behaviour, she quickly turned her attention to plant behaviour and cognition. Over the last decade, she has blazed the trail for a brand new field called plant bioacoustics, showing that plants do make sounds; and by demonstrating experimentally that learning is not the exclusive province of animals, she has re-ignited the discourse on plant subjectivity and ethical and legal standing. Her studies have led her to author numerous groundbreaking scientific articles and to co-edit The Green Thread: Dialogues with the Vegetal World (Lexington Books, 2015), The Language of Plants: Science, Philosophy and Literature (Minnesota University Press, 2017) and Memory and Learning in Plants (Springer, 2018). Her research transcends the view of plants as the objects of scientific materialism and encourages us to rethink plants as people–beings with subjectivity, consciousness, and volition, and hence having the capacity for their own perspectives and voices. In her latest book, Thus Spoke the Plant: A Remarkable Journey of Groundbreaking Scientific Discoveries and Personal Encounters with Plants (North Atlantic Books, 2018), which she calls a “phytobiography”, she describes her experiments that opened the space to begin to understand how to make contact with this other-than-human intelligence. More info: www.monicagagliano.com;