Next Article in Journal
Thermoeconomic Optimum Operation Conditions of a Solar-driven Heat Engine Model
Next Article in Special Issue
A Law of Word Meaning in Dolphin Whistle Types
Previous Article in Journal
Continuous-Discrete Path Integral Filtering
Entropy 2009, 11(3), 431-442; doi:10.3390/e110300431
Article

Quantification of Information in a One-Way Plant-to-Animal Communication System

Received: 15 July 2009 / Revised: 18 August 2009 / Accepted: 20 August 2009 / Published: 21 August 2009
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Information Theory Applied to Animal Communication)
Download PDF [121 KB, uploaded 24 February 2015]

Abstract

In order to demonstrate possible broader applications of information theory to the quantification of non-human communication systems, we apply calculations of information entropy to a simple chemical communication from the cotton plant (Gossypium hirsutum) to the wasp (Cardiochiles nigriceps) studied by DeMoraes et al. The purpose of this chemical communication from cotton plants to wasps is presumed to be to allow the predatory wasp to more easily obtain the location of its preferred prey—one of two types of parasitic herbivores feeding on the cotton plants. Specification of the plant-eating herbivore feeding on it by the cotton plants allows preferential attraction of the wasps to those individual plants. We interpret the emission of nine chemicals by the plants as individual signal differences, (depending on the herbivore type), to be detected by the wasps as constituting a nine-signal one-way communication system across kingdoms (from the kingdom Plantae to the kingdom Animalia). We use fractional differences in the chemical abundances, (emitted as a result of the two herbivore types), to calculate the Shannon information entropic measures (marginal, joint, and mutual entropies, as well as the ambiguity, etc. of the transmitted message). We then compare these results with the subsequent behavior of the wasps, (calculating the equivocation in the message reception), for possible insights into the history and actual working of this one-way communication system.
Keywords: information theory; biological communications; chemical plant signals information theory; biological communications; chemical plant signals
This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

Share & Cite This Article

Further Mendeley | CiteULike
Export to BibTeX |
EndNote
MDPI and ACS Style

Doyle, L.R. Quantification of Information in a One-Way Plant-to-Animal Communication System. Entropy 2009, 11, 431-442.

View more citation formats

Article Metrics

Comments

Citing Articles

[Return to top]
Entropy EISSN 1099-4300 Published by MDPI AG, Basel, Switzerland RSS E-Mail Table of Contents Alert