> Back to seminars list

Seminar

Wednesday, 26th, June 2024
11h30
Centre de recherche - Paris - Amphith√©√Ętre Marie Curie

Bees, flowers and electrostatics: a window on a new sensory ecology

Working together to exchange nutrition for pollination services, bees and flowers interact relying on vision, olfaction, touch, and humidity sensing. We have discovered that bees can also detect and learn about the weak electric field that arises as they approach a flower. This electric field – a small force-  is generated because flying bees are usually electrically positively charged whilst flowers tend to keep negatively charged. A third and more elusive component contributing to this electric interaction is the atmospheric potential gradient (APG) generated by the ionization of the atmosphere and the global electric circuit. I will present our current understanding of this triadic interaction (Bee-flower-APG), but also expand into the diverse roles that triboelectrification has in the sensory ecology of terrestrial arthropods and plants. In effect, physical contact and friction between arthropods and their environment generate charge separation and a Coulomb force that can be detected by mechanosensory hairs. Triboelectric charging and electrostatic induction will be proposed to play a pervasive role in the sensory ecology of plants and behaviours of small animals. This work opens the enticing possibility that many arthropod species, in fact the majority of animal species, are capable of aerial electroreception, a sensory modality previously unknown.

Speaker(s)

Daniel Robert
University of Bristol

Hosted by


PCC Seminar Team

Invited by

Pascal Martin

Contact

Pascal Martin

Send an e-mail

PCC Seminar Team

Send an e-mail