Avian feather research

Avian feather research

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Credit: VOLKER STEGER/SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY

Caption: Avian feather research. Zoologist Georg Pohland pointing a spectrophotometer at a museum specimen of a king penguin (Aptenodytes patagonica) as seen in ultraviolet (UV) light. The spectrophotometer measures the UV reflecting properties of the bird's feathers. The plumage of many bird species displays markings that are only visible under UV light, which birds can see. This image was taken using a camera adapted to filter through and detect only UV light waves. Surfaces that reflect UV appear lighter than surfaces that absorb UV. Photographed at the Alexander Koenig Research Insitute and Museum of Zoology, Bonn, Germany.

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