Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Hello FReD!

This week, I was given the task of doing several literature reviews on floral reflectance in respect to pollinators, one of which was called FReD: The Floral Reflectance Database-A Web Portal for Analyses of Flower Colour. This paper, which was published and can be accessed freely on PLoS ONE, can be viewed as an instructions manual of how to access and use this database for researchers to " spectral reflectance data for flower species collected from all over the world." I've included a print screen to show the data that comes up when I hit the search button:
In this screen-shot, I've categorized the entries by country of origin (where the data was collected).
I think that once this database contains more information, it will be a great key tool for researchers wanting to find out what type of color (viewed through human eyes) are most likely to attract the attention of bees. However, a few problems that I have with this at the moment is that there are only 899 records on the database, which limits the amount of information that can be gathered. Second, in relation to the work that Lizzie has assigned me, this database does not provide information on plant species in the U.S., and instead has much more floral information about plants mainly in Brazil and Germany. Lastly, this database is highly focused on bees and no other types of pollination modes by animals (i.e. hummingbirds, beetles, etc.). Despite these limitations, FReD has been set up in a very user-friendly mode that makes it easy for anyone to search up information.
The drop-box selections and check boxes allow users to control what information they wish to have presented.
Going back to this paper, however, the writers have brought up several interesting points about pollinators' sensitivity to different wavelengths of light, and in short, floral reflectance. The reason that FReD was developed is to provide access to flower colors are "...not inherently human-biased and which can be used when considering the interactions between floral appearance and the visual systems of pollinators." This brings up several other papers that Lizzie printed out for me to read, and a few that I've browsed on ISI Web of Science, but I've decided that I will save that post for a later time. Stay tuned for more information!

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