A new technology is being developed to detect the presence of honeybees and other pollinators in a flower nectar plant’s flowers.
Key points:A new technology will help the Australian Government determine whether there is sufficient pollen from other pollinating species to provide adequate nectar supplySource:University of Technology SydneyThe technology, which is being built by the University of Technology’s Australian Renewable Energy Lab, uses infrared cameras to look for pollen grains and identify the presence or absence of other pollinator species.
The researchers say the technology could potentially be used to improve the quality of Australia’s nectar supplies, by identifying the presence and the abundance of other non-pollinators that pollinate flowers.
“We believe this is the first time a technology has been developed for this purpose,” Professor Michael Macpherson, from the University’s Department of Biological Sciences, said.
“It is not an entirely new concept but we are excited about the possibilities it has.”
The research was carried out by the Australian Renewables Lab in collaboration with the University and the University Hospitals of Melbourne.
The team of researchers is now working on other applications of the technology.
“This is the latest development in our long-term effort to develop a new technology that can be used as a sensor that can detect pollen grains in nectar plants,” Dr Macphersen said.
“We are looking to develop this technology as a tool to determine whether the plant can provide sufficient nectar to satisfy the requirements of pollinators and the pollinators.”
“We would like to be able to use this technology to determine if there is enough pollen from non-flower pollinators to provide sufficient pollen for the plant to satisfy all the requirements for a nectar crop.”
Professor Macphersons lab currently develops sensors for detecting pollen grains that are in the vicinity of flowering plants.
He said the technology is also useful in other areas, such as identifying insects that may be in the area.
“There are a number of applications where we use it to determine pollen grain concentrations, so this is something that we would like people to be aware of,” he said.
The research has been published in the journal Environmental Research Letters.