The department has teaching and research interests in many aspects of Biology from the cellular and molecular level to organismal to global ecological and conservation issues

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

Bees and UV cues

Check out the latest work by Associate Professor Lisa Horth on the effect of floral UV cues in attacting bees to flowers just published:
Horth, L., L. Campbell & R. Bray. 2014.  Wild bees preferentially visit Rudbeckia flower heads with exaggerated ultraviolet absorbing floral guides. Biology Open (2014) 3, 221–230 doi:10.1242/bio.20146445
This research demonstrates for the first time that floral guides are not just important in directing pollinators to floral reward, but also in recruiting pollinators to flowers from a distance.

The ultraviolet absorbent floral guides found on black eyed susans were manipulated to be larger and smaller than they typically are in nature. 

This ultraviolet absorbent pattern forms a 'bullseye' around the center of the flower where pollen and nectar rewards are located.

In this study the size of that bullseye was diminished and enlarged. Bees preferred enlarged cues and recruited to flowers from a distance more often when this cue was big.

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