OMG! Flower Colors Are Changing Thanks To Climate Change

01-Oct-2020, Updated on 10/1/2020 6:08:24 AM

OMG! Flower Colors Are Changing Thanks To Climate Change

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Nature has given the ability to all Creatures to adapt to their environment. Not only this, plants and animals also make permanent changes in themselves according to the permanent changes.

Major changes include moving to a new place and even changing the breeding season. But many organisms make changes in the level of molecules (Molecular Level), due to which some changes are seen in some of their characteristics which have never been seen before. Something similar is seen in flowers.

Recently, scientists have found that there have been subtle changes in the colors of some flowers that now their entire color has changed. Such changes were not seen earlier, but now these changes are happening.

Research published recently in Current Biology has shown that in the last 75 years, flowers have altered the ultraviolet rays in their petals, and the pigments caused by rapidly changing global temperatures and ozone levels Huh. 

Pigments that absorb ultraviolet rays in flowers are not visible to the human eye, but they attract pollinators that carry pollens. They also act like a sunscreen for sensitive cells of plant flowers as ultraviolet rays are very harmful to pollen. 

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The lead author of this research, Matthew Kosky and his team, previously found that flowers grown in highlands and near the equator are at greater risk of ultraviolet rays (UV Rays). Their petals have a high amount of pigments that absorb ultraviolet rays. In the latest research, furthering the same study, the researchers investigated whether the increase in the global temperature and the decrease of the ozone layer affected the amount of these pigments. 

To answer their questions, Koski and his team collected 1238 flowers of 42 different plant species from North America, Europe, and Australia. These samples were from 1941 to 2017, ie 75 years old. 

The researchers used the UV Sensitive Camera and they took pictures of the ultraviolet pigments of the flower petals of the collected specimens at different times. They then compared changes in pigmentation to changes in local ozone levels and temperatures. 

Researchers' analysis showed that the number of UV pigments in flowers increased by an average of two percent per year from 1941 to 2017. This change also depended on the structure of the flower.

Researchers found that flowers with a bowl-shaped structure whose pollen was uncovered increased their pigment as ozone levels increased and pigments increased as levels decreased. On the other hand, the flowers which were covered with pollen petals, their UV pigment decreased as the temperature increased and it had nothing to do with the ozone level. 

Flowers produce pigments in the flowers. In particular, a chemical named Anthocyanins works. This particular type of chemicals belongs to the category of flavonoids. Other pigments contain carotenoids that give color to such things as carrots and tomatoes. A change in the pattern of the pigment means that the colors of the flowers are changing.

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