Plant volatile signals can provide important information about the physiological status and genetic identity of the emitter, and nearby plants can use this information to detect competitive neighbours.
• Plants use volatile signals from undamaged neighbours to monitor and predict existence of potential competitors.
• The signals may induce adaptive physiological responses even before competition starts.
• The plant responses may affect the behaviour and abundance of insects.
• Only volatiles from damaged plants were previously known to induce such responses.
- Decoding neighbour volatiles in preparation for future competition and implications for tritrophic interactions, Velemir Ninkovic et al, Perspectives in Plant Ecology, Evolution and Systematics