Deciphering the Airborne Sounds of Plants Under Drought Stress

Category: Plant Science
Student: David Hsu
Table: PLANT2
Experimentation location: School, Home
Regulated Research (Form 1c): No
Project continuation (Form 7): No

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Additional Project Information

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Research Plan:

Research Plan: Ultrasonic Emissions of Plants Under Drought Stress

With global water resources under increasing pressure, there's a pressing need for sustainable agricultural practices that optimize water usage. Recent research suggests that plants emit differentiated airborne sounds under stress conditions like drought, potentially signaling their hydration needs. This study aims to delve into the ultrasonic emission characteristics of plants under different hydration levels, exploring the possibility that these signals might not only indicate plant water stress but also influence the physiological responses of surrounding plants. This research could revolutionize irrigation practices, leading to more efficient water use in agriculture.


I hypothesized that plants emit distinct airborne sounds in response to drought stress compared to when adequately watered.

Research Questions
1.    How do the airborne sounds of plants vary between well-watered and drought conditions?
2.    Can airborne sounds from drought-stressed plants trigger physiological changes in neighboring plants?
3.    How can the understanding of plant airborne sounds under drought stress inform the development of precision irrigation systems that cater to the specific hydration needs of plants?


1)    Experimental Setup:
a. Use Ixora plants as the primary subjects for experimentation.
b. Use the SONAPHONE ultrasonic testing device and analysis software for detecting and analyzing ultrasonic emissions/ plant airborne sounds.
c. Design experiments to compare ultrasonic signals/airborne sounds while watered and drought conditions.

2)    Data Collection and Analysis:

a. Record plant airborne sounds 1 hour and 9 hours after watered, 10 minutes each time.

b. Analyze the data to identify differences between droughted and watered plants’ ultrasonic emission/airborne sounds such as their sound level, frequency, and number of occurrences.


Questions and Answers

No additional information provided.