Biocommunication of Unicellular and Multicellular Organisms

  • Günther Witzany telos – Philosophische Praxis
Keywords: communicative competences, bacteria, fungi, plants


Far from being mechanistic interactions, communication processes within and between organisms are sign-mediated interactions. Such interactions are the precondition for all cooperation and coordination between at least two biological agents such as organisms, organs, tissues, cells and even subcellular components. In most cases these communication processes are of a fine-tuned interconnected structure within a highly sophisticated hierarchical order. Signs of biocommunicative processes in most cases are chemical molecules. The signs that are used in a great variety of signaling processes follow syntactic, pragmatic and semantic rules. These three levels of semiotic rules are helpful tools in the investigation of the communication processes of unicellular and multicellular organisms. This article demonstrates a coherent biosemiotic categorization of communication processes found in the kingdoms of bacteria, fungi and plants. The investigation further shows that, apart from biotic sign use, a common trait is to interpret abiotic influences as indicators to generate appropriate adaptational behavior.