Anthony Trewavas

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Anthony Trewavas
Born Anthony Trewavas
(1939-06-17) 17 June 1939 (age 77)
London, England
Nationality British
Alma mater
Doctoral advisor Eric Crook [1]

Anthony J. Trewavas FRS FRSE is a Professor at the Institute of Cell and Molecular Biology of the University of Edinburgh[2] best known for his research in the fields of plant physiology and molecular biology. His lifetime research has concerned what is now recognized as plant behaviour.


He was born in 1939 and his secondary school education was at John Roans Grammar School, Blackheath, London which he left in 1958 with five A levels. He obtained both his degree and Ph.D in Biochemistry at University College London before performing post doctoral work at the newly constituted University of East Anglia.

Academic career[edit]

He moved to the University of Edinburgh in 1970. In 1972 he was invited to be first Visiting Professor at the prestigious Plant Research laboratory in Michigan State University. At the time this laboratory was regarded as the foremost laboratory dealing with plant research. He also, after invitation, spent periods of time as Visiting Professor at other Universities in the Americas and Europe usually providing up to 20 lectures. He is the author of some 250 scientific papers and three books both as editor and author. He was made Professor Emeritus in the University of Edinburgh in 2004.


Plant behavior is simply the response of plants to environmental problems or change. His main research contribution as the leader of the Edinburgh Molecular Signalling Group, has been in the role of calcium in signal transduction during plant development.[3] Although Trewavas has done significant research of plant molecular mechanisms and signaling, his true fascination was with whole plant behaviour. In 1972 he picked up a book titled General Systems Theory, which would have a profound influence on this view of biology. It dictated that biology was constructed from systems or network which were all interconnected and these connections gave rise to novel properties of organisms and populations. At a time when most scientists, including himself, were reductionists, this approach was very controversial. Trewavas's articles with his new perspective were ridiculed, and even led to his promotion being temporarily blocked. His inspiration to pursue plant intelligence came from Barbara McClintock, who he mentions multiple times in his 2014 book Plant Behavior and Intelligence.[4]


He is an elected Fellow of the Royal Society of Edinburgh (1993),[citation needed] the Royal Society of Arts (1995), the Royal Society of London (1999), the Centre for Future Studies (2001) [5] Academia Europea in 2002 and received the "corresponding membership" award from the American Society of Plant Biologists in 1999,[6] a prize given to one non-US biologist per year.[7] He is named by the Institute for Scientific Information as in the most highly cited author group in the field of animal and plant Sciences.[8] He is a past or present member of the editorial boards of the publications, Trends in Plant Science, Botanica Acta, Plant Physiology, What's New in Plant Physiology, Biochemical Journal "Molecular Plant", "Plant Signaling and Behaviour", Plant, Cell and Environment.

Evidence to Parliament[edit]

Professor Trewavas submitted written evidence to the Science and Technology Committee of the UK Parliament in April 2013.[9] He summarized his evidence as follows:

  • The difference between projection and prediction
  • The necessity of scepticism in climate science and the difficulties in testing climate models
  • Whether CO2 increase is the driver of climate temperature or is it the reverse?
  • I conclude that a lack of certainty should lead to removal of legislation



  1. ^ Profile of Anthony Trewavas in Molecular Plant
  2. ^ Staff Page: Tony Trewavas
  3. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 25 June 2006. Retrieved 2006-08-03. 
  4. ^ Trewavas, Anthony (2014). Plant Behavior and Intelligence (1st ed.). Oxford, UK: oxford University Press. p. 2. ISBN 9780191028915. 
  5. ^
  6. ^
  7. ^ "American Society of Plant Biologists Awards Winners". American Society of Plant Biologists. Retrieved 2007-07-01. [dead link]
  8. ^ ISI author number A0597-2002-C
  9. ^