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.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics