The invisible colors of the flowers can help ensure pollination, survival

The invisible colors of the flowers can help ensure pollination, survival

Matthew Koski University Assistant Professor of Biological Science led a team of researchers who studied Argentine flowering plants – a member of the rose family called silverweed – to study the nature of the pig. in petals visible only in the ultraviolet spectrum. Important part in the plasticity of the plant. Photo: Matthew Koski

You may not know, but the differences in the petals of the flowers make a “cow-eye” for pollinating insects, according to the Clemson University scientist whose research sheds light on the changes. chemicals in flowers to help them respond to environmental changes, including climate change, that may threaten their lives.

Matthew H. Koski, an assistant professor of biological sciences at Clemson College of Science, led a group of researchers who studied the bright, yellow flowers of Argentina anserina – a member of the rose family called silverweed – learn the meaning of the pig in the flower. Petals exposed only to the ultraviolet spectrum play an important role in the plasticity of the plant; That is, its ability to respond quickly to any change. The group also included Clemson researchers Lindsay M. Finnell, Elizabeth Leonard and Nishanth Tharayil.

The journal Stimulation reported the information on the cover of his March issue.

Researchers have studied the growth of silverweed at different altitudes in southwestern Colorado to better understand the roles of different UV -absorbing chemicals in the petals of plants and how they work. and these chemicals aid in pollination and, therefore, reproduction.

Koski explained that while humans cannot see UV rays on flower petals, many of its pollinators can.

“I’ve always been happy with how [color variation of flowers] way and how it grows and what influences the change in color, “says Koski,” so I was interested in thinking about how we perceive color with how living things interact with flowers.

“Pollinators – pollinators, for example – detect the ultraviolet spectrum,” he continues. “So, flowers that detect and record long ultraviolet wavelengths (to pollinators) give us insight into different colors that we don’t see. Regarding the nature of the interest in ultraviolet absorption, it is biochemistry.

Koski said most plants have chemicals that trap UV at the base of the flower petals, while the sides of the petals are more sensitive to UV light chemicals. He said this would create a “bulls-eye” effect that would guide the insects in their search for pollen.

The company wanted to find out more about how plants grow in different environments – in this case, an altitude of 1,000 meters is different. They found that flowers changed their environment at different levels by making UV-protective chemicals or UV-absorbing chemicals.

The invisible colors of the flowers can help ensure pollination, survival

These pictures are the same flower. The object on the left shows the visible light. The right side shows pigs whose petals are only visible in the ultraviolet spectrum. The black spot is UV-absorbing. The light spot is UV-reflective. Photo: Matthew Koski

“At higher altitudes, there is more UV-absorbing additives or a higher spatial rate of UV absorption in the petals, compared to lower concentrations,” says Koski.

The researchers said this reflects the plasticity of the plant, which Koski described as the fact that different species arise in different organisms under different environmental conditions. . This is an important step in understanding how living things adapt to change.

“The great thing about plasticity, when we think about climate change and global change, is that plasticity is something that natural people can respond quickly to. changing the climb and continuing down those climbs, ”he said. “The process of evolution, where you get changes in the genetic code over time, is thought to go slower than just responding plastically to environmental change.”

Koski said one question the research raises is whether plastic solutions are appropriate for environmental conditions. Do they provide a health benefit, or are they changing the way a species grows due to the environment without affecting plant health?

“One of the findings in this study is that the conversion of plastic to UV pigmentation is beneficial to the plant, more so at higher altitudes because of the increased ultraviolet absorption. in the petals increased pollen viability, ”he explains.

Koski said the research will help scientists better understand how living things respond to environmental changes and even predict whether or how some living things will be able to survive faster. environmental change, such as climate change. The research may be important for agriculture, he said, because some UV-sensitive pigs at work on silverweed also include commercial plants such as mustard and sunflowers. .

“It’s interesting to think about how abiotic factors like UV or temperature change in the expression of these traits, how it affects how pollinators look at flowers, and how it relates to things like the production and production of crops, for example., ”Koski said.

The team’s research may be important for home gardeners who are trying to extract different types of pollinators from their plants.

“I think one thing that people think about is planting different flowers with different colors and morphologies to attract different types of pollinators, as a pollinator-friendly garden,” Koski said. “One thing to keep in mind is that we don’t know all the details of the colors seen by pollinators, and how they change with the seasons. It’s different from pollinators and we can pull a bunch of other pollinators in. earlier than we expected. ”

The hidden ultraviolet colors of sunflowers attract pollinators and retain water

More information:
Matthew H. Koski et al, Elevational divergence in pigmentation plasticity in relation to selection and pigment biochemistry, Stimulation (2022). DOI: 10.1111 / evo.14422

Presented by Clemson University

Directions: Invisible colors of flowers can help ensure pollination, survival (2022, March 30) Retrieved 30 March 2022 from unseen-pollination-survival.html

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