Pattern formation is key to the development of all organisms. Mechanical instabilities associated with stress development during growth have been proposed as a patterning mechanism of surface morphologies across plants and animals. We have been studying the development of nanoscale ridges on the petals of Hibiscus trionum. In this talk I will summarise recent work demonstrating the function of these ridges in the generation of structural colour and a subsequent effect on pollinator foraging efficiency. I will introduce the molecular, genetic and chemical approaches we are taking to understand how mechanical instability and growth-induced stress regulate the formation of these ridges. I will also discuss the evolutionary context of petal nanoscale ridge development.
Beverley Glover is Professor of Plant Systematics and Evolution at the University of Cambridge and Director of the Cambridge University Botanic Garden. She studied Plant and Environmental Biology at the University of St Andrews and her PhD in Plant Development was from the John Innes Centre. Her research focuses on the development, function and evolution of floral traits that attract pollinating animals.