Institute for the Physics of Living Systems


IPLS Seminar - Prof. Beverley Glover (University of Cambridge)

18 January 2017, 11:00 am


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UCL MRC Building, Laboratory for Molecular Cell Biology, Seminar Room (2nd Floor)

Title: A trick of the light? Development, function and evolution of plant nanostructures that influence animal behaviour

Abstract: Flowers and the animals that pollinate them interact at a single key point - the petal surface. It is this single layer of tissue that provides the visual surface that advertises nectar rewards. It is on this layer of tissue that pollinators land. And it is often from this layer of tissue that the scents that attract pollinators over longer ranges are released. The petal surface is therefore a multifunctional structure, and its properties on a range of scales influence animal behavior through different senses. Our recent work has focused on the optical effects of the petal surface, and in particular how different microscale and nanoscale structures can generate colour and gloss. I will present recent work on the nanoscale properties of the petal surface, taking molecular genetic, evolutionary and pollinator behavioural perspectives.