Prelims level : Science and Technology Mains level : GS-III Technology, Environment, Economic Development
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Why in News:

  • Bengaluru researchers use art to study pollinators, show results at London’s Victoria and Albert Museum.


  • Researchers from the National Centre for Biological Sciences (NCBS) here, who have co- published a study on why pollinators prefer some flowers over others, are turning to art to take their inquiry further.
  • Recent studies point to an alarming decline in insect populations, making the study important. The scientists have teamed up with the Thomas Pausz Studio in an ‘art-as- science’ project that utilises art and design knowledge.
  • This will help them develop better ways to attract dwindling pollinator populations.
  • Their work is currently on display at the Victoria and Albert Museum (V&A) in London.

Colour or shape?

  • Highly prolific pollinators found on every continent except Antarctica. Researchers replicated cues from flowers — colour, shape, size, odour — in the form of artificial flower lures.
  • The team found some lures were attractive to hoverflies only in certain environments, but there was one flower lure that was attractive everywhere.
  • “This was exciting as it suggested the possibility of a universal lure. We didn’t know which
    cues were important – colour, odour, shape, or more,” she said.
  • The researchers approached artist Thomas Pausz at Srishti Institute of Art, Design and Technology to create the non-flower.
  • To translate ideas, they used paper, films and UV light. The result is six ‘non-flower’ artefacts on show at the V&A alongside Virtual Reality films based on fractal geometries.
  • “The structures echo scientists’ findings — pollinators prefer flowers with many edges,” said Mr. Pausz.. The actual artefacts were realised using a 3D printing machine
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