In the study of the biological sciences, biocommunication is any specific type of communication within (intraspecific) or between (interspecific) species of plants, animals, fungi, protozoa and microorganisms. Communication basically means sign-mediated interactions following three levels of (syntactic, pragmatic and semantic) rules. Signs in most cases are chemical molecules (semiochemicals), but also tactile, or as in animals also visual and auditive. Biocommunication of animals may include vocalizations (as between competing bird species), or pheromone production (as between various species of insects), chemical signals between plants and animals (as in tannin production used by vascular plants to warn away insects), and chemically mediated communication between plants and within plants.
Biocommunication of fungi demonstrates that mycelia communication integrates interspecific sign-mediated interactions between fungal organisms soil bacteria and plant root cells without which plant nutrition could not be organized. Biocommunication of Archaea represents keylevels of sign-mediated interactions in the evolutionarily oldest akaryotes.
Biocommunication, biosemiotics and linguistics
Biocommunication theory may be considered to be a branch of biosemiotics. Whereas Biosemiotics studies the production and interpretation of signs and codes, biocommunication theory investigates concrete interactions mediated by signs. Accordingly, syntactic, semantic, and pragmatic aspects of biocommunication processes are distinguished. Biocommunication specific to animals (animal communication) is considered a branch of zoosemiotics. The semiotic study of molecular genetics, can be considered a study of biocommunication at its most basic level.
Given the complexity and range of biological organisms and the further complexity within the neural organization of any particular animal organism, there is a variety of biocommunication languages.
A hierarchy of biocommunication languages in animals has been proposed by Subhash Kak: these languages, in order of increasing generality, are associative, re-organizational, and quantum. The three types of formal languages of the Chomsky hierarchy map into the associative language class.
- Animal communication
- Human–animal communication
- Molecular genetics
- Plant perception (physiology)
- Plant physiology
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