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

Prof. Beverley Glover, FLS, Dept. of Plant Sciences, University of Cambridge and Director of the Cambridge University Botanic Garden

  • Mon 6th Mar 2017

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Prof. Glover writes:

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. Our recent research has focused on the optical effects of the petal surface. The majority of petal morphologies will act to support certain plant/pollinator interactions but not others, leading to greater reproductive isolation and speciation within the flowering plants. I will present recent work on the nanoscale properties of the petal surface, taking molecular developmental, evolutionary and pollinator behavioural perspectives.

Beverley Glover studied Plant and Environmental Biology at the University of St Andrews, before a PhD in plant molecular genetics at the John Innes Centre. In 1996 she moved to Cambridge as a junior research fellow at Queens' College and in 1999 she was appointed a lecturer in the Department of Plant Sciences. In July 2013, she was appointed Director of the Cambridge University Botanic Garden and made Professor of Plant Systematics and Evolution. Her research focuses on the evolution and development of plant traits that attract different animal pollinators.

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Pre-lecture Visit

There is currently a wonderful display of about 200 orchids, many in bloom, in Churchill College’s greenhouse. Our President Sir David Wallace, who is a recent Master of Churchill College, has arranged a visit which is timed for immediately before Prof. Glover’s lecture. The Head of Grounds and Gardens, John Moore, will be in attendance.

Please note that places on the visit are limited and need to be booked and paid for in advance. For further details please download the poster.