Navigation Links
For birds, red means 'go'
Date:3/5/2013

New research has shown that certain Australian native flowers have shifted away from using insects as pollinators and evolved their flower colour to the red hues favoured by birds.

In a study published in New Phytologist, biologists from Monash University and RMIT University have shown for the first time that Australian native flowers exclusively pollinated by birds have evolved colour spectral signatures that are best discriminated by those birds.

Dr Adrian Dyer of Monash and RMIT said previous studies had shown that flower colour evolved to attract bees as pollinators.

"We know that some flowers had evolved spectral signatures to suit bee pollinators, but the story for bird-pollinated flowers was not clear," Dr Dyer said.

Lead author and PhD student Mani Shrestha of the Monash School of Biological Sciences collected spectral data from over 200 flowering plants and identified the pollinators as birds or insects. Then with Associate Professor Martin Burd - also of the School of Biological Sciences - did phylogenetic analyses to identify how the flowers have evolved spectral signatures.

"We found that flowers exclusively pollinated by birds had initially evolved to suit insect vision, but more recently the spectral signature of bird pollinated flowers had shifted towards longer wavelengths," Mr Shesthra said

The research showed that rather than just having any type of red reflection, bird pollinated flowers targeted the specific wavelengths that best match the long wavelength tetrachromatic (four colour) vision of many Australian native birds.

"Bird pollinated flowers may have evolved red signals to be inconspicuousness to some insects that are poor pollinators, whilst also enhancing the discrimination of bird pollinators," Mr Shresthra said.

Associate Professor Burd said the work had broad significance for understanding how flower colours have evolved to suit specific pollinators, and how colour may continue to evolve in particular environments depending upon the availability of effective pollinators.

"The colour cues in Australian flowers would be easily detected by honeyeaters, the most important family of nectar feeding birds in Australia. Hummingbirds in the Americas have similar visual systems to honeyeaters, so we expect to find similar colour signals among American flowers," Associate Professor Burd said.

"But in Asia and Africa, birds with a different type of colour vision are the primary avian pollinators. If flower colours in these regions are tuned to the specific capacities of their own birds, we would have strong evidence that we've cracked the code that plants use to communicate with birds."


'/>"/>

Contact: Emily Walker
emily.walker@monash.edu
61-399-034-844
Monash University
Source:Eurekalert

Related biology news :

1. For young birds, getting stressed out can be a good thing
2. Plant scientists at CSHL demonstrate new means of boosting maize yields
3. Tolerance to malaria by means of iron control
4. Evolutionary straitjacket means flies cant take the heat
5. Glass offers improved means of storing UKs nuclear waste
6. New means of safeguarding world fish stocks proven
7. Science means innovation
8. Preventing home invasions means fighting side-by-side for coral-dwelling crabs and shrimp
Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:
(Date:4/15/2016)... 2016 Research and Markets has ... Market 2016-2020,"  report to their offering.  , ... ,The global gait biometrics market is expected to ... period 2016-2020. Gait analysis generates multiple ... used to compute factors that are not or ...
(Date:3/31/2016)... R.I. , March 31, 2016  Genomics firm ... of founding CEO, Barrett Bready , M.D., who ... members of the original technical leadership team, including Chief ... President of Product Development, Steve Nurnberg and Vice President ... returned to the company. Dr. Bready served ...
(Date:3/22/2016)... , PROVO and ... Newborn Screening Ontario (NSO), which operates the highest sample ... molecular testing, and Tute Genomics and UNIConnect, leaders in ... respectively, today announced the launch of a project to ... (NGS) testing panel. NSO has been ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:6/23/2016)... , ... June 23, 2016 , ... STACS DNA Inc., ... Leader at the Arkansas State Crime Laboratory, has joined STACS DNA as a Field ... DNA team,” said Jocelyn Tremblay, President and COO of STACS DNA. “In further expanding ...
(Date:6/23/2016)... June 23, 2016  Blueprint Bio, a company dedicated ... the medical community, has closed its Series A funding ... . "We have received a commitment from ... we need to meet our current goals," stated ... the runway to complete validation on the current projects ...
(Date:6/23/2016)... , ... June 23, 2016 , ... ... exhibiting at the Pennsylvania Convention Center and will showcase its product’s latest features ... will also be presenting a scientific poster on Disrupting Clinical Trials in The ...
(Date:6/23/2016)... 22, 2016  Amgen (NASDAQ: AMGN ) ... QB3@953 life sciences incubator to accelerate the development ... laboratory space at QB3@953 was created to help high-potential ... for many early stage organizations - access to laboratory ... Amgen launched two "Amgen Golden Ticket" awards, providing each ...
Breaking Biology Technology: