Pete the fern has taken the world’s first plant-powered selfies, in a scientific trial that could revolutionise conservation in the wild, scientists have said.
The team at London Zoo has hailed the trial – which aims to develop a way of using plants to power camera traps and sensors to monitor remote habitats – a success after the fern managed to snap images of its stems and leaves.The project uses fuel cells that harness the energy of naturally occurring bacteria in the soil, fed by nutrients plants put into the earth as they grow, to generate enough electricity to power conservation equipment.
It could provide an alternative to batteries or solar panels to monitor inhospitable and remote locations such as rainforests for data including temperature and plant growth, to help experts understand threats such as climate change and habitat loss.
Earlier this year, Zoological Society of London (ZSL) scientists installed the microbial fuel cells in London Zoo’s Rainforest Life exhibit.
After spending the summer growing, Pete the maidenhair fern, has begun taking its own selfies at an “astonishing” rate, according to the team.
He is currently taking a photo every 20 seconds.[…]