13 December 2010
A new database created at Queen Mary offers a bee's eye view of the world. Working with colleagues from Imperial, Professor Lars Chittka has developed the Floral Reflectance Database (FReD) to document the colours of flowers, as seen by their pollinating insects. We humans – like most mammals – are unable to see the ultra-violet colours that many flowers have evolved to attract insects, however, understanding the sensory signals that insects use is important. The greenhouse cultivation of bee-pollinated food crops is a multi-million pound industry. In an interview with the BBC, Professor Chittka said: “Every third bite that you consume at the dinner table is the result of insect pollinators' work. In order to utilise insects for commercial pollination purposes, we need to understand how insects see flowers". This story features widely in the media including: The Times of India, Zeenews, New Zealand News.