Floral Reflectance Database (FReD)
A new web portal allows users to download the reflectance spectra of flowers from around the world.
13 May 2011
Taraxacum officinale (dandelion) and its floral reflectance spectrum from FReD (Image: Geoffrey Kite & FreD)
Flower colour is of great importance in various fields relating to floral biology and pollinator behaviour. However, subjective human judgement of flower colour may be inaccurate and is irrelevant to the ecology and vision of the flower's pollinators. For precise, detailed information about the colours of flowers, a full reflectance spectrum for the flower of interest should be used rather than relying on such human assessments.
Vincent Savolainen (Imperial College London/Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew) and Lars Chittka's team at Queen Mary (University of London) have developed The Floral Reflectance Database (FReD), which makes an extensive collection of such data available to researchers. The database allows users to download spectral reflectance data for flower species collected from all over the world. These could, for example, be used in modeling interactions between pollinator vision and plant signals, or analyses of flower colours in various habitats. The database contains functions for calculating flower colour loci according to widely-used models of bee colour space, reflectance graphs of the spectra and an option to search for flowers with similar colours in bee colour space.
FReD is a valuable new tool for researchers interested in the colours of flowers and their association with pollinator colour vision, containing raw spectral reflectance data for a large number of flower species.
FReD is freely available at http://www.reflectance.co.uk.
Item from Prof. Vincent Savolainen (Professor of Organismic Biology, Imperial College London, & Research Fellow, Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew).
Originally published in Kew Scientist, issue 39
Sarah E. J. Arnold, S.E.J., Faruq, S., Savolainen, V., McOwan, P.W., Chittka, L. (2010). FReD: The Floral Reflectance Database — A Web Portal for Analyses of Flower Colour. PLoS ONE 5(12): e14287
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