Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Himalayan flowers shed light on climate change

Date:
December 3, 2013
Source:
Monash University
Summary:
Flower color in some parts of the world, including the Himalayas, has evolved to attract bees as pollinators, research has shown for the first time.

The steep terrain in Nepal that acted as a natural filter for testing how flower might evolve differently in different climates.
Credit: Monash University

Flower color in some parts of the world, including the Himalayas, has evolved to attract bees as pollinators, research has shown for the first time.

In a study published in the Journal of Ecology, biologists from Monash University and RMIT University have investigated the evolution of flower colors due to the bee's color vision. They researched in the understudied Nepalese steep mountainous terrain, and other subtropical environments. The study also has implications for understanding the effects of climate change on plant pollination.

Associate Professor Adrian Dyer of Monash and RMIT said previous studies had shown that flower color evolved to attract bees as pollinators in temperate environments, but the story for either subtropical or steep mountainous environments had been unknown.

"Mountainous environments provide an ideal natural experiment to understand the potential effects of changing climatic conditions on plant-pollinator interactions, since many pollinators show preferences for localised conditions, and major pollinators like honeybees do not tend to forage at high altitudes," Associate Professor Dyer said.

Dr Mani Shrestha from Monash University and his colleague Prakash Bhattrai from the Tribhuvan University, Kathmandu, collected spectral data from more than 100 flowering plants in Nepal over a range of altitudes, from 900 metres to over 4000 metres.

Using computer models to examine flower colors as bees would see them, the team addressed how pollinator vision had shaped flower evolution. Then, with Associate Professor Martin Burd, of the School of Biological Sciences, they did phylogenetic analyses to identify how altitude zones affected results.

Dr Shrestha said flowers from both subtropical (900-2000m) and alpine (3000-4100m) regions showed evidence of having evolved color spectral signatures to enhance discrimination by bee pollinators.

"The finding was a surprise as flies are thought to be the main pollinator in many mountain regions, but it appears that in the Himalayas several bee species are also active at high altitude, and these insects have been such effective pollinators that they have led to the evolution of distinctive bee-friendly colors," Dr Shrestha said.

The research could shed light on how flower colors may continue to evolve in particular environments, depending upon the availability of the most effective pollinators.

While 'bee colors' were prevalent at all elevations, flower colors in high altitude zones were more diverse and had more often undergone larger steps of evolutionary change than those at lower elevation, Associate Professor Burd said.

"Studying these patterns helps scientists understand how plant communities are assembled, and are potentially able to deal with changing conditions."


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Monash University. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Mani Shrestha, Adrian G. Dyer, Prakash Bhattarai, Martin Burd. Flower colour and phylogeny along an altitudinal gradient in the Himalayas of Nepal. Journal of Ecology, 2013; DOI: 10.1111/1365-2745.12185

Cite This Page:

Monash University. "Himalayan flowers shed light on climate change." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 3 December 2013. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/12/131203110359.htm>.
Monash University. (2013, December 3). Himalayan flowers shed light on climate change. ScienceDaily. Retrieved September 20, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/12/131203110359.htm
Monash University. "Himalayan flowers shed light on climate change." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/12/131203110359.htm (accessed September 20, 2014).

Share This



More Plants & Animals News

Saturday, September 20, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Raw: San Diego Zoo Welcomes Cheetah Cubs

Raw: San Diego Zoo Welcomes Cheetah Cubs

AP (Sep. 20, 2014) The San Diego Zoo has welcomed two Cheetah cubs to its Safari Park. The nearly three-week-old female cubs are being hand fed and are receiving around the clock care. (Sept. 20) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Chocolate Museum Opens in Brussels

Chocolate Museum Opens in Brussels

AFP (Sep. 19, 2014) Considered a "national heritage" in Belgium, chocolate now has a new museum in Brussels. In a former chocolate factory, visitors to the permanent exhibition spaces, workshops and tastings can discover derivatives of the cocoa bean. Duration: 01:00 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Could Grief Affect The Immune Systems Of Senior Citizens?

Could Grief Affect The Immune Systems Of Senior Citizens?

Newsy (Sep. 19, 2014) The study found elderly people are much more likely to become susceptible to infection than younger adults going though a similar situation. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Jury Delivers Verdict in Salmonella Trial

Jury Delivers Verdict in Salmonella Trial

AP (Sep. 19, 2014) A federal jury has convicted three people in connection with an outbreak of salmonella poisoning five years ago that sickened hundreds of people and was linked to a number of deaths. (Sept. 19) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins