An evolutionary theorist set out to show that plants can hear their environment, and he was right; they can.
Their work, not yet peer-reviewed but available from a preprint repository, analyzed evening primrose flowers and used sound tests to show that they responded to the sound of bees’ wings by increasing the amount of sugar in their nectar.
Reasoning that pollinators and flowers have evolved together for a very, very long time, and that the world is completely saturated with sounds, Lilach Hadany, who teaches at the intersections between mathematics and biology at Tel Aviv University, felt that it did not. I would ‘It doesn’t make sense for plants to ignore them.
Any living creature must use all its senses to survive until it can reproduce, and if you take a moment to imagine how long a blind or deaf wildebeest would last in the Serengeti, you can see where Hadany is coming from.
To prove her premise, that sound is an abundant natural resource that greatly aids in the quest to survive and thrive, Hadany subjected the evening primrose flowers to five sound tests consisting of three different computer-generated frequencies, silence, and recording. of the flapping of a bee.
The silence, which they achieved by placing a jar over the flower, computer-generated high-frequency notes from 158 to 160 kilohertz, and intermediate frequency notes from 34 to 35 kilohertz, had no effect on the flower.the study shows.
However, with the ultra-low frequency and the bees’ flapping, the flower spent the next three minutes increasing the sugar content in its nectar by 17-20%, a remarkably clear suggestion that Hadany’s hypothesis was correct.
Pollinators are more likely to detect and visit a flower with more nectar, and Hadany’s team found that pollinators were nine times more likely to choose to visit a flower that had been visited by another pollinator in the last six minutes, showing how valuable that is, a small increase in sugar could be a consequence of the flower’s reproductive possibilities.
“We were quite surprised when we found out that it really worked,” Hadany said. National Geographic. “But after repeating it in other situations, in different seasons, and with plants grown both indoors and outdoors, we feel very confident in the result.”
As Hadany and her colleagues thought about the nature of sound and flowers, they realized that many flowers are concave, tubular, or bowl-shaped, all perfect for attracting sounds and vibrations.
Amphitheatres, subwoofers, ears, and radar antennas share these properties.
In fact, using tools to measure tiny vibrations, they found that the vibrations entering the primroses increased in strength based on the shape of the flower petals, which if distorted or removed, nullified the effect.
On a different note, another study found that when the sound of caterpillars eating leaves was played alongside a plant in the same family as mustard, it was later found that they flooded its leaves with a chemical caterpillar deterrent compared to those who only heard silence.
These two articles have helped open up a relatively new field of study: phytoacoustics, the study of the interactions of plants with sound.
Since this is World Bee Day, it’s also important to recognize the importance of your food source, especially when selecting which species to plant in your garden or balcony, perhaps those with radar dish-like flowers?
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