Evolutionary Ecology

, Volume 31, Issue 2, pp 143–151

Plant–animal communication: past, present and future


DOI: 10.1007/s10682-017-9884-5

Cite this article as:
Leonard, A.S. & Francis, J.S. Evol Ecol (2017) 31: 143. doi:10.1007/s10682-017-9884-5


Communication between plants and their animal partners underlies some of the planet’s most ecologically and economically important mutualisms. Study of communication in this context offers many opportunities to address fundamental questions about the costs and benefits of signal production, signal honesty, and receiver cognition. In this special issue, contributors highlight several key areas of current research, including how multiple receivers affect floral signaling, and how signaling may be related across different phases of reproduction. Visual signals are a particular emphasis, including how learning can mediate pollinator preferences, and the evolution of conspicuousness. In light of these focal areas, we summarize current trends towards the study of greater complexity both in terms of floral phenotypes and signaling/interaction networks.


Communication Floral signals Plant–animal interactions Pollination Herbivory Seed dispersal 

Funding information

Funder NameGrant NumberFunding Note
Division of Integrative Organismal Systems
  • IOS-1257762
National Science Foundation
  • Graduate Research Fellowship

Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing Switzerland 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of BiologyUniversity of NevadaRenoUSA

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