From: University of Michigan
Published August 3, 2017 02:46 PM

Animal coloration research: On the threshold of a new era

In the last 20 years, the field of animal coloration research has experienced explosive growth thanks to numerous technological advances, and it now stands on the threshold of a new era.

That's the conclusion of 27 researchers, including University of Michigan evolutionary biologist Elizabeth Tibbetts, in a review article scheduled for online publication in the journal Science on Aug. 3.

The authors of the wide-ranging and comprehensive review include behavioral ecologists, psychologists, optical physicists, visual physiologists, geneticists, anthropologists and evolutionary biologists. In "The biology of color," they look at recent progress in the field and set out some key questions for the future.

Coloration is a vitally important biological trait because it is involved with individual survival and with reproduction through camouflage, warning coloration, mate choice, social signaling, thwarting parasitism and thermoregulation. Recent technological advances affecting the field include spectrophotometry, digital imaging, innovative laboratory and field studies, and large-scale comparative analyses.

Read more at University of Michigan

Image: This common paper wasp, Polistes fuscatus, has variable facial patterns that are used for individual recognition. (Credit: John Den Uyl)

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