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Heather Whitney wins major European Research Council grant

9 December 2010

Heather Whitney has just been awarded an ERC starting grant of just over 1.1 million euros to investigate iridescence in leaves.

Heather Whitney has just been awarded an ERC starting grant of just over 1.1 million euros to investigate iridescence in leaves. Iridescence is a form of structural colour which changes hue according to the angle from which it is viewed. While many animals (for example peacocks and beetles) produce iridescence, it has been less well known that plants can also produce equally vivid colours. A range of plants and algae produce blue iridescence on their surface but the adaptive advantage of this iridescence is unknown. This project therefore aims to determine what the adaptive advantages of leaf iridescence are and if they could be used to enhance crop productivity.
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