Iridescence workshop promotes nature's nanotechnology

January 16, 2008

TEMPE, Ariz. - The phrase "sex sells" takes on special significance when scientists and students gather. While nature's showiest subjects step out to promote reproductive success and survival with bright colors, flash and iridescence in feathers, scales, petals and wings, biologists, physicists, behaviorists and materials scientists will delve into what's behind all the bling at a workshop on "Iridescence" to be held Feb. 6-9 at Arizona State University in Tempe, Ariz.

"In terms of nanofabrication, nature has surpassed mankind, in both structural intricacy and manufacture, producing nanostructures at body temperature and neutral pH, without caustic reagents or environmental damage and with enviable repeatability for millions of years," says Nathan Morehouse, doctoral student in ASU's School of Life Sciences and one of the organizers of this conference.

The Iridescence workshop will pull participants and panelists from an array of fields and research institutes around the globe, including Japan, Netherlands, Belgium, Brazil, China, Australia, South Korea, U.S., U.K. and Canada.

Talks and posters will present topics as diverse as how to make photonic crystals, the evolution of iridescent structures in butterflies, cephalopod coloration and sexual signaling in peacocks.

"This workshop is intended to catalyze cross-disciplinary exchange," says Melissa Meadows Rader, conference organizer and an ASU doctoral student studying structural coloration in birds.

"The workshop will present opportunities to identify new avenues for research, and jumpstart new perspectives around iridescent structures, their nano-architecture and function, and understanding about behavior and signaling," she says.

Beyond the conference's core talks and posters, not all will be about Fourier analyses, optics and elytra; human fashion, design, art and education will take their place along with the colorful cache of butterflies, birds, reptiles, mollusks and insects. Dennita Sewell of the Phoenix Art Museum will deliver the event's closing talk on "Changing appearances: A historic perspective on fashion's use of iridescent materials" paired with a fashion show by designers Galina Mihaleva and Jacqueline Benard, featuring dancers from the ASU Herberger College of the Arts.

According to conference participant Ron Rutowski, besides providing a unique opportunity for researchers and students to interact with some of the innovative, international leaders in their fields, the Iridescence workshop will highlight how "beauty, in this case color, is truly in the eye of the beholder." Rutowski, a professor of life sciences in ASU's College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, explains: "For example, how butterflies see each other enriches not only our understanding of butterfly coloration, how and why it is being produced, and what it is doing, it also contributes to the broader understanding about the function of evolution and production of coloration in all organisms."

"This gathering will be the first, truly international, landmark conference that brings together all the present and future key players in this fantastically interdisciplinary field of science," notes Peter Vukusic, conference attendee who leads the study of natural photonics with University of Exeter's School of Physics, U.K. "Many of us have been waiting a decade or more for something just like this to be organized."
-end-
More information about the conference and invited speakers at: http://sols.asu.edu/rti/frontiers/iridescence.

Inquiries should be directed to: animalcoloration@gmail.com or (480) 965-2593.

Arizona State University
College of Liberal Arts and Sciences
School of Life Sciences
Tempe, Arizona USA
http://sols.asu.edu

Arizona State University

Related Butterflies Articles from Brightsurf:

Two centuries of Monarch butterflies show evolution of wing length
North America's beloved Monarch butterflies are known for their annual, multi-generation migrations in which individual insects can fly for thousands of miles.

Vagabonding female butterflies weigh in on reproductive strategies
A new study by researchers from the National Centre for Biological Sciences (NCBS), Bengaluru, published today in the Royal Society's journal Biology Letters, shows that dispersals, when undertaken by butterflies in search of unpredictable resources, selectively burden the egg-carrying females on their long flights.

Migration and dispersal of butterflies have contrasting effect on flight morphology
Migration and dispersal are vastly different activities with very different benefits and risks.

Scientists unravel the evolution and relationships for all European butterflies in a first
For the first time, a complete time-calibrated phylogeny for a large group of invertebrates is published for an entire continent.

Human handling stresses young monarch butterflies
People handle monarch butterflies. A lot. Every year thousands of monarch butterflies are caught, tagged and released during their fall migration by citizen scientists helping to track their movements.

What do soap bubbles and butterflies have in common?
A unique butterfly breeding experiment gave UC Berkeley researchers an opportunity to study the physical and genetic changes underlying the evolution of structural color, responsible for butterflies' iridescent purples, blues and greens.

Bacteria get free lunch with butterflies and dragonflies
Recent work from Deepa Agashe's group at NCBS has found that unlike other insects, neither butterflies nor dragonflies seem to have evolved strong mutualisms with their bacterial guests.

How some butterflies developed the ability to change their eyespot size
New insight on how a butterfly species developed the ability to adjust its wing eyespot size in response to temperature has been published today in eLife.

Butterflies can acquire new scent preferences and pass these on to their offspring
Two studies from the National University of Singapore demonstrate that insects can learn from their previous experiences and adjust their future behaviour for survival and reproduction.

Beating the heat in the living wings of butterflies
Columbia engineers and Harvard biologists discover that butterflies have specialized behaviors and wing scales to protect the living parts of their wings.

Read More: Butterflies News and Butterflies Current Events
Brightsurf.com is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com.