Unravelling the evolution of autumn colours: an interdisciplinary approach

Marco Archetti, Thomas F. Döring, Snorre B. Hagen, Nicole M. Hughes, Simon R. Leather, David W. Lee, Simcha Lev-Yadun, Yiannis Manetas, Helen J. Ougham, Paul G. Schaberg, Howard Thomas

Research output: Contribution to journalReview article

127 Scopus citations


Leaf colour change is commonly observed in temperate deciduous forests in autumn. This is not simply a side effect of leaf senescence, and, in the past decade, several hypotheses have emerged to explain the evolution of autumn colours. Yet a lack of crosstalk between plant physiologists and evolutionary ecologists has resulted in slow progress, and so the adaptive value of this colour change remains a mystery. Here we provide an interdisciplinary summary of the current body of knowledge on autumn colours, and discuss unresolved issues and future avenues of research that might help reveal the evolutionary meaning of this spectacle of nature.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)166-173
Number of pages8
JournalTrends in Ecology and Evolution
Issue number3
StatePublished - Mar 1 2009

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics

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    Archetti, M., Döring, T. F., Hagen, S. B., Hughes, N. M., Leather, S. R., Lee, D. W., Lev-Yadun, S., Manetas, Y., Ougham, H. J., Schaberg, P. G., & Thomas, H. (2009). Unravelling the evolution of autumn colours: an interdisciplinary approach. Trends in Ecology and Evolution, 24(3), 166-173. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.tree.2008.10.006