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Avian UV vision enhances leaf surface contrasts in forest environments

Tedore, Cynthia LU and Nilsson, Dan Eric LU (2019) In Nature Communications 10(1).
Abstract

UV vision is prevalent, but we know little about its utility in common general tasks, as in resolving habitat structure. Here we visualize vegetated habitats using a multispectral camera with channels mimicking bird photoreceptor sensitivities across the UV-visible spectrum. We find that the contrast between upper and lower leaf surfaces is higher in a UV channel than in any visible channel, and that this makes leaf position and orientation stand out clearly. This was unexpected since both leaf surfaces reflect similarly small proportions (1-2%) of incident UV light. The strong UV-contrast can be explained by downwelling light being brighter than upwelling, and leaves transmitting < 0.06% of incident UV light. We also find that... (More)

UV vision is prevalent, but we know little about its utility in common general tasks, as in resolving habitat structure. Here we visualize vegetated habitats using a multispectral camera with channels mimicking bird photoreceptor sensitivities across the UV-visible spectrum. We find that the contrast between upper and lower leaf surfaces is higher in a UV channel than in any visible channel, and that this makes leaf position and orientation stand out clearly. This was unexpected since both leaf surfaces reflect similarly small proportions (1-2%) of incident UV light. The strong UV-contrast can be explained by downwelling light being brighter than upwelling, and leaves transmitting < 0.06% of incident UV light. We also find that mirror-like specular reflections of the sky and overlying canopy, from the waxy leaf cuticle, often dwarf diffuse reflections. Specular reflections shift leaf color, such that maximum leaf-contrast is seen at short UV wavelengths under open canopies, and at long UV wavelengths under closed canopies.

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author
organization
publishing date
type
Contribution to journal
publication status
published
subject
in
Nature Communications
volume
10
issue
1
publisher
Nature Publishing Group
external identifiers
  • scopus:85060366164
ISSN
2041-1723
DOI
10.1038/s41467-018-08142-5
language
English
LU publication?
yes
id
32bfd6be-9499-47c1-90b2-b37023d4c2a0
date added to LUP
2019-01-31 13:46:52
date last changed
2019-02-27 05:11:37
@article{32bfd6be-9499-47c1-90b2-b37023d4c2a0,
  abstract     = {<p>UV vision is prevalent, but we know little about its utility in common general tasks, as in resolving habitat structure. Here we visualize vegetated habitats using a multispectral camera with channels mimicking bird photoreceptor sensitivities across the UV-visible spectrum. We find that the contrast between upper and lower leaf surfaces is higher in a UV channel than in any visible channel, and that this makes leaf position and orientation stand out clearly. This was unexpected since both leaf surfaces reflect similarly small proportions (1-2%) of incident UV light. The strong UV-contrast can be explained by downwelling light being brighter than upwelling, and leaves transmitting &lt; 0.06% of incident UV light. We also find that mirror-like specular reflections of the sky and overlying canopy, from the waxy leaf cuticle, often dwarf diffuse reflections. Specular reflections shift leaf color, such that maximum leaf-contrast is seen at short UV wavelengths under open canopies, and at long UV wavelengths under closed canopies.</p>},
  articleno    = {238},
  author       = {Tedore, Cynthia and Nilsson, Dan Eric},
  issn         = {2041-1723},
  language     = {eng},
  month        = {01},
  number       = {1},
  publisher    = {Nature Publishing Group},
  series       = {Nature Communications},
  title        = {Avian UV vision enhances leaf surface contrasts in forest environments},
  url          = {http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/s41467-018-08142-5},
  volume       = {10},
  year         = {2019},
}