Home Entertainment Arts Yukai Du’s Neat Animation Asks If Plants Can Communicate?

Yukai Du’s Neat Animation Asks If Plants Can Communicate?

Illustrator Yukai Du was commissioned by TED-Ed to animate a lesson about the study of plant communications by educator Richard Karban. The video, entitled Can Plants Communicate?, explores why and how plants communicate.

Although plants look like they don’t have much to say, it turns out they can produce signals in the air or through the ground to communicate with each other. They can also help each other when stressed. It’s pretty amazing. Yukai Du’s bold, lively illustrations for the video complement the lesson at hand, with the bright feel of a children’s story book.

Just like animals, plants produce all kinds of chemical signals in response to their environments. (Image: TED-Ed via YouTube/Screenshot)
Just like animals, plants produce all kinds of chemical signals in response to their environment. (Image: Yukai Du, via TED-Ed YouTube/Screenshot)

Yukai Du is an illustrator/animator who is originally from China. She graduated in 2014 from Central Saint Martins College in London, and currently resides in Brighton, U.K. She is represented by MP Arts, and some of her clients include The Washington Post, Wired UK, The New York Times, and the BBC.

The more similar two plants chemical fingerprints are, the more fluidly they can communicate. (Image: Yukai Du, via TED-Ed YouTube/Screenshot)
The more similar plants’ chemical fingerprints are, the more fluidly they can communicate with each other. (Image: Yukai Du, via TED-Ed YouTube/Screenshot)

A recurring theme in Yukai’s animations is our dependance on technology, so she probably enjoyed this TED-Ed commission on plant communications.

Tomato plants send signals from it's immune system that can prompt other tomato plants to turn on their immune systems too if they are under threat. (Image: Yukai Du, via TED-Ed YouTube/Screenshot)
When a tomato plant is fighting a disease, it’s immune system sends out a signaling molecule that prompts other tomato plants to turn on their immune systems. (Image: Yukai Du, via TED-Ed YouTube/Screenshot)

Educator for the Ted-Ed video is Richard Karban, who is Professor of Entomology at the University of California, Davis, and the coauthor of the books Induced Responses to Herbivory and How to Do Ecology.  Jiaqi Wang assisted with the animation work, while composer and sound designer Angus MacRae provided the sound. The script was edited by Eleanor Nelsen.

Plants don't have to rely solely on those airborne broadcasts, signals can travel below the soils surface too. (Image: Yukai Du, via TED-Ed YouTube/Screenshot)
Plants don’t have to rely solely on airborne broadcasts; they can also communicate via signals that travel below the surface. (Image: Yukai Du, via TED-Ed YouTube/Screenshot)

And with the delightful illustrations by Yukai Du, the learning experience is a real treat.

Please watch the TED-Ed video Can Plants Communicate?:

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Jessica Kneipphttp://www.jessicakneipp.net
Jessica grew up in the tropics of North Australia. She writes about films, and occasionally gets to write and direct them. She has a love of silent films, they are the closest she will ever get to "time travel." However, on some real travels she spotted a polar bear while visiting the Arctic, and has enjoyed the view of the Mongolian plains on a train from Russia to China. Her favorite fruit is pomegranate and her most memorable gift is a Super 8 camera from her husband, which she is keen to shoot some footage of Antarctic icebergs on one day.  

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