Workshops in Ecology and Behaviour: Dr Rox Middleton - University of Bristol

28 January 2020, 4.00 PM - 28 January 2020, 5.00 PM

Dr Rox Middleton hosted by Dr Karin Kjernsmo

Life Sciences Building, G13/14 Seminar Room

Production of ‘metallic’ blue coloration in Viburnum tinus fruits

Many plants rely on animals for seed dispersal. Fruits which are especially nutritious to birds have high levels of lipid and anthocyanins, both of which tend to make the fruit visually darker, and therefore potentially less visible to the seed-dispersing birds they need to eat them. But in one fruit, the problem appears to have been solved.

Viburnum tinus is a popular garden shrub (in Bristol!) which provides high-nutritional value food for overwintering birds due to its unusual fruiting cycle. V. tinus have especially striking fruits of a ‘metallic’ blue colour. I will present findings on how this strange coloration occurs due to a nanostructure in the fruit cell wall, which enables the fruit to combine bright colourful reflection and a valuable nutrient load.

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