“If you’re small, smells are a good way to stand out. A team of researchers has demonstrated for the first time that two different types of micro-organisms – bacteria and fungi – use fragrances, known as terpenes, to hold conversations. And that’s not all. The researchers suggest that terpenes are the most popular chemical medium on our planet to communicate through.”
That’s a fascinating study. Combines two really interesting areas; chemical communication and epigenetics, where gene expression gets turned on and off by factors in the environment. Here’s the full paper for the science nerds:
FYI, most animals have their own version of chemical communication within their own species (via smells) called pheromones. Since pheromones are used heavily by social insects, they’re the most common mode of communication for animals.