Harvard University used a Modal Shop shaker to study different vibration frequencies and how they affect the release of pollen in the types of nectar-less plants pollinated by Bumblebees.
Harvard University's Concord Field Station research facility, headed by Dr. Stacey Combes, recently began a series of experiments to test if the frequency at which a Bumblebee vibrates its body has an effect on the amount of pollen the flower releases.
"We attached a flower called a Bittersweet Nightshade to the stinger of The Modal Shop's electrodynamic shaker with integrated amplifier, called the SmartShaker. We then connected the shaker to a data acquisition system to output different frequency signals to it and programmed our software to communicate between the computer, data acquisition system and the shaker," says Callin Switzer, a Harvard University graduate student working on the project.
Most plants entice bees to gather their pollen by producing nectar, a sweet food for the bees. Some plants, however, do not produce nectar, yet Bumblebees are drawn to their color, smell or even the electric charge of the plant.
Bumblebees grasp these flowers and shake the pollen out. They take the pollen back to their hives and feed it to their young. Some pollen, however, sticks to the bodies of the bees and increases the likelihood of pollination between plants. This experiment is designed to study different vibration frequencies and how they affect the release of pollen in these types of nectar-less plants.
"We shined a laser on the flower to view the pollen coming out, and will use a piezoelectric accelerometer and signal conditioner in upcoming experiments to measure accelerations without having to digitize points with a high-speed camera," continues Switzer.
For more information on The Modal Shop SmartShaker, please visit www.modalshop.com/SmartShaker.
About The Modal Shop
Based out of Cincinnati, OH, The Modal Shop is a PCB Group Company that manufactures electrodynamic shakers and vibration test products, calibration systems and non-destructive testing systems for a variety of industries from national test labs to the industrial floor. For a complete list of our products, as well as accompanying datasheets and spec sheets, visit us at www.modalshop.com or call 513-351-9919.