The University of Western Australia

UWA Staff Profile

Ipsum Lorem

Monica Gagliano

Assoc/Prof Monica Gagliano

Research Associate Professor
Evolutionary Biology, Centre for

Contact details
Centre for Evolutionary Biology
The University of Western Australia (M092)
35 Stirling Highway
+61 8 6488 1361

Research Associate Professor
Animal Biology, School of

Contact details
School of Animal Biology
The University of Western Australia (M092)
35 Stirling Highway
+61 8 6488 1361
2007 PhD Marine Ecology, James Cook University (Australia)
1999 MSc Marine & Fisheries Science (University of Aberdeen, UK & University of Cape Town, SA)
1998 BSc (Hon) Marine Biology (University of North Wales Bangor, UK)
Key research
My main research is broadly in evolutionary ecology and focusing on key aspects of the ecological processes by which organisms are able to gather information on the variable conditions of their surrounding environment in order to survive. While I continue my research on the ecology of coral reef fishes and other marine creatures, I have also expanded my interests to plants with great emphases on elucidating how plants obtain and make use of information about their environment through learning and, how they communicate and what kind of information they share amongst themselves and other organisms.


Gagliano M (2017) The ming of plants: thinking the unthinkable. Commun Integr Biol. (in press).

Gagliano M, Vyazovskiy VV, Borbély AA, Grimonprez M & M Depczynski (2016) Learning by association in plants. Scientific Reports 6: 38427. Freely available here

Gagliano M & M Grimonprez (2015) Breaking the silence – language and the making of meaning in plants. Ecopsychology 7: 143-152. Freely available here

Pelizzon A & M Gagliano (2015) The Sentience of Plants: Animal Rights and Rights of Nature Intersecting? AAPLJ 11:5-13. Available online here:

Gagliano M (2015) In a green frame of mind: perspectives on the behavioural ecology and cognitive nature of plants. AoB Plants. Freely available here

Gagliano M, Renton M, Depczynski M & S Mancuso (2014) Experience teaches plants to learn faster and forget slower in environments where it matters. Oecologia 175:63-72. (DOI 10.1007/s00442-013-2873-7)

Gagliano M & M Renton (2013) Love thy neighbour: facilitation through an alternative signalling modality in plants. BMC Ecology 13:19. Freely available here

Gagliano M (2013) Green symphonies: a call for studies on acoustic communication in plants. Behav. Ecol. 24(4): 789-796. Freely available here

Gagliano M (2013) The flowering of plant bioacoustics: how and why. Behav. Ecol. 24 (4): 800-801. Freely available here

Gagliano M, Renton M, Duvdevani N, Timmins M & S Mancuso (2012) Acoustic and magnetic communication in plants: is it possible? Plant Signalling and Behavior 7: 1346 - 1348

Gagliano M, Renton M, Duvdevani N, Timmins M & S Mancuso (2012) Out of sight but not out of mind: alternative means of communication in plants. PloS ONE 7(5), e37382. Freely available here

Gagliano M, Mancuso S & D Robert (2012) Towards understanding plant bioacoustics. Trends Plant Sci. 17: 323–325


Memory and Learning in Plants. Co-edited with Frantisek Baluska and Guther Witzany. Springer, forthcoming 2018.

The Language of Plants: Science, Philosophy and Literature. Co-edited with Patricia Vieira and John Ryan. Minnesota University Press, forthcoming 2017.

** This book commences a dialogue between philosophy, science, literature and cinema dealing with plants. The aim of the edited collection is to develop a better understanding of plant life through critical awareness, conceptual rigor, and interdisciplinary thinking. Envisioned as a ground-breaking work that will bridge a number of fields, The Language of Plants will (1) allot to literature, cinema and the arts a special role in the integration of the scientific and philosophical research on plants at the experiential level, (2) promote the freedom of imagination necessary for the rethinking of vegetal life and, thereby, (3) inspire further philosophical and scientific investigations. The book will not only seek to consolidate the nascent paradigm shift in the human conceptualisation of vegetation, but it will also join ongoing discussions of plant ethics**

The Green Thread: Dialogues with the Vegetal World. Co-edited with Patricia Vieira and John Ryan. Lexignton Books, 2015. Available here:


Gagliano M & M Marder (2015) Plants can learn: it's a no-brainer! LA Review Books Blog. Published March 2015 and available here:

Gagliano M & M Marder (2014) What Plant Revolution would you opt for? LA Review Books Blog. Published November 2014 and available here:

Marder M & M Gagliano (2013) How do plants sound? Columbia University Press Blog. Published June 2013 and available here:

Gagliano M (2012) Green Symphonies. Australasian Science. Published September 2012

Gagliano M (2012) Heard it on the grapevine: the mysterious chatter of plants. The Conversation. Published 12 April 2012 and available here:


Gagliano M (2016). What would the Babel Fish say? ASent 1(3):20. Freely available here

Gagliano M, Depczynski M & U Siebeck (2015). Facing the environment: onset and development of UV markings in young fish. Sci Rep 5:13193. Freely available here

Depczynski M & M Gagliano (2013). Natural-born con artists and counterfeiters: Who is being deceived here? Commun Integr Biol. 6(4):e24586. See link

Gagliano M & M Depczynski (2013). Spot the difference: mimicry in a coral reef fish. PloS ONE 8: e55938. See link

Herwig JN, Depczynski M, Roberts JD, Semmens JM, Gagliano M & AJ Heyward (2012) Using age-based life history data to investigate the life cycle and vulnerability of Octopus cyanea. PloS ONE 7: e43679. See link

Simpson SD, Munday PL, Wittenrich ML, Manassa R, Dixson D, Gagliano M & HY Yan (2011) Ocean acidification erodes crucial auditory behaviour in a marine fish. Biol. Lett. 7: 917-920

Baumann H & M Gagliano (2011) Changing otolith:fish size ratios during settlement in two tropical damselfishes. Helgoland Mar. Res 65: 425-429

Munday P, Gagliano M, Donelson J, Dixson D & S Thorrold (2011) Ocean acidification does not affect the early life history development of a tropical marine fish. Mar. Ecol. Prog. Ser. 423: 211-221

Gagliano M, Lema K, Depczynski M & S Whalan (2011) Use it and lose it: lipofuscin accumulation in the brain of a coral reef fish. J. Fish Biol. 78:659–666.

Botté E, Negri A, Codi King S, Gagliano M, Smith-Keune C, & DR Jerry (2010) Are damsels in distress? Combined effects of chlorpyrifos and temperature stress on the tropical damselfish Acanthochromis polyacanthus from the Great Barrier Reef (Australia). Comp. Biochem. Physiol. A Mol. Integr. Physiol. 157: S16.

Gagliano M, McCormick MI, Moore J & M Depczynski (2010) The basics of acidification: baseline variability of pH on Australian coral reefs. Mar. Biol. 157:1849–1856.

Wilson SK et al (2010) Critical knowledge gaps in current understanding of climate change impacts on coral reef fishes. J. Exp. Biol. 213:894-900. In the special issue 'Survival in a Changing World' available online at

Gagliano M, Dunlap WC, de Nys R & M Depczynski (2009) Ockham’s Razor gone blunt: coenzyme Q adaptation and redox balance in tropical reef fishes. Biol. Lett. 5:360–363.

Gagliano M & MI McCormick (2009) Hormonally-mediated maternal effects shape offspring survival potential in stressful environments. Oecologia 160:657-665.

McCormick MI & M Gagliano (2009) Carry-over effects: the importance of a good start. 11th Int Coral Reef Symp

Gagliano M (2008) On the spot: the absence of predators reveals eyespot plasticity in a marine fish. Behav. Ecol.19:733-739.

Gagliano M, Depczynski M, Simpson SD & J Moore (2008) Dispersal without errors: symmetrical ears tune into the right frequency for survival. Proc. R. Soc. Lond. B 275:527-534.

Gagliano M, McCormick MI & MG Meekan (2007) Survival against the odds: ontogenetic changes in selective pressure mediate growth-mortality trade-offs in a marine fish. Proc. R. Soc. Lond. B 274:1575-1582.

Gagliano M, McCormick M & MG Meekan (2007) Temperature-induced shifts in selective pressure at a critical developmental transition. Oecologia 152:219-225.

Gagliano, M & MI McCormick (2007) Maternal condition influences phenotypic selection on offspring. J. Anim. Ecol. 76:174-182.

Depczynski M & M Gagliano (2007) Andaman blennies bathe in the tropical sun rather than in the water. Coral Reefs 26:677.

Gagliano M & MI McCormick (2007) Compensating in the wild: is flexible growth the key to early juvenile survival? Oikos 116:111-120.

Gagliano M, Kowalewsky S & MI McCormick (2006) An alternative method for the preservation of tropical fish larvae. J. Fish Biol. 68:634-639.

Bay, LK, Buechler K, Gagliano M & MJ Caley (2006) Intraspecific variation in the pelagic larval duration of tropical reef fishes. J. Fish Biol. 68:1206-1214.

Gristina M, Fiorentino F, Garofalo G, Gagliano M, Morizzo G & S Cusumano (2006) Protection effects on European spiny lobster (Palinurus elephas Fabricius, 1787) in the Isole Egadi Marine Reserve. Biol. Mar. Med. 12:404-409.

Gagliano M & MI McCormick (2004) Feeding history influences otolith shape in tropical fish. Mar. Ecol. Prog. Ser. 278: 291-296.

Gristina M & M Gagliano (2004). Performance of traditional rush and modern plastic traps on the capture of Palinurus elephas (Fabricius, 1787) in laboratory tanks. Fish. Res. 66: 235-239.

Gagliano M, Fiorentino F & S Ragonese (2002) New record of Caulerpa racemosa in the south-western Sicilian waters. Naturalista sicil. 26 (3-4):155-159.

Gagliano M, Gancedo U, Coca J & AG Ramos (2002) Real time remote sensing monitoring of the western Mediterranean. Biol. Mar. Med. 9:870-873.

Gagliano M, Tuya F, Martin-Garcia J & O Ayza-Mascarell (2002) Experimental evaluation on fish assemblages associated with artificial structures: a preliminary study. Biol. Mar. Med. 9:754-757.

OTHER AREAS OF RESEARCH (philosophy, literature, management, ethics, anthropology, shamanism, integral ecology, ecopsychology, wild law)

Pelizzon A & M Gagliano (2015) The Sentience of Plants: Animal Rights and Rights of Nature Intersecting? AAPLJ 11:5-13. Available online here:

Gagliano M (2013) Seeing green: the re-discovery of plants and Nature’s wisdom. Societies 3 (1): 147-157. In the special issue 'Rethinking the Vegetal: Emerging Perspectives on Plants and Society' available online at

Gagliano M (2013) Persons as Plants: Ecopsychology and the Return to the Dream of Nature. Landscapes: the Journal of the International Centre for Landscape and Language 5(2):1-11. In the issue on ‘Ecological Creativity’ available online at

Forster D & M Gagliano (2009) Biodynamic soil health and its potential role in future agricultural practices. 10th Intecol
Funding received
2013: UWA ECR Fellowship Support ($29,950)

2013: ARC Discovery Early Career Research Award ($375,000)

2011: UWA Research Collaboration Award Scheme ($15,000)

2011: UWA Research Development Award Scheme ($29,578)

2009: UWA Postdoctoral Research Fellowship ($226,866)

2007: AIMS@JCU Postdoctoral Research Fellowship ($60,000)
The Association for the Scientific Study of Consciousness (
Previous positions
2009-2012 University of Western Australia, Western Australia (Postdoctoral Research Fellowship)

2007-2009 James Cook University & Australian Institute of Marine Science, Queensland (Postdoctoral Research Fellowship)
Useful links
I am a member of the UWA Ocean Institute. Visit at
New and noteworthy
And for something different, follow the link…

Check out this interview with Jill Cloutier at Sustainable World Radio:

Check out this interview with Derrick Jensen for Progressive Radio on plant learning and more:

Check out this interview for ABC WA Radio on plant learning:

Check out this interview for THIS WAY UP NZ Radio National:✓&q=gagliano

Check out this interview for OFF TRACK ABC Radio National:
Current projects

PLANT CONSCIOUSNESS: I am developing an experimental framework to explore consciousness in plants

PLANT COGNITIVE ECOLOGY: I am experimentally investigating the learning abilities and memory of plants by testing non-associative (e.g. habituation) and associative (e.g. classical conditioning) learning paradigms.

SOUND COMMUNICATION IN PLANTS: Plants produce sound waves in the lower end of the audio range as well as an overabundance of ultrasonic sounds. Over the last 35 year, these ultrasonic emissions have been measured and described numerous times. By capturing the ultrasonic signals emitted by plants under different environmental conditions, I am exploring the ecological significance of these sounds to communication among plants and between plants and other organisms.


RECRUITMENT PROCESSES IN THE NORTH-WEST OF AUSTRALIA: Focusing on ecologically and indigenously important species, we are exploring the variability in seasonal fish larvae replenishment and the spatial and temporal scale on which this operates in the unique ecosystem of the Kimberley region (in collaboration with Dr Martial Depczynski, Australian Institute of Marine Science).

LIFE HISTORY STRATEGIES IN CORAL REEF FISHES: many small coral reef fish live very short lives in ordered societies that are hierarchical in nature. Opportunities to reproduce depend on being the right sex at the right time to maximise individual fitness. We are exploring the occurence of and selective pressure on these fishes to evolve rapid sex change responses to changing social or environmental conditions (in collaboration with Dr Martial Depczynski, Australian Institute of Marine Science).

Research profile
Research profile and publications

The University of Western Australia

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Last updated:
Tuesday, 3 November, 2015 2:39 PM