The biology of color

Research output: Contribution to journalReview article


Coloration mediates the relationship between an organism and its environment in important ways, including social signaling, antipredator defenses, parasitic exploitation, thermoregulation, and protection from ultraviolet light, microbes, and abrasion. Methodological breakthroughs are accelerating knowledge of the processes underlying both the production of animal coloration and its perception, experiments are advancing understanding of mechanism and function, and measurements of color collected noninvasively and at a global scale are opening windows to evolutionary dynamics more generally. Here we provide a roadmap of these advances and identify hitherto unrecognized challenges for this multi- and interdisciplinary field.


  • Innes C. Cuthill
  • William L. Allen
  • Kevin Arbuckle
  • Barbara Caspers
  • George Chaplin
  • Mark E. Hauber
  • Geoffrey E. Hill
  • Nina G. Jablonski
  • Chris D. Jiggins
  • Johanna Mappes
  • Justin Marshall
  • Richard Merrill
  • Daniel Osorio
  • Richard Prum
  • Nicholas W. Roberts
  • Alexandre Roulin
  • Hannah M. Rowland
  • Thomas N. Sherratt
  • John Skelhorn
  • Michael P. Speed
  • Martin Stevens
  • Mary Caswell Stoddard
  • Devi Stuart-Fox
  • Laszlo Talas
  • Elizabeth Tibbetts
  • Tim Caro
External organisations
  • University of Bristol
  • Swansea University
  • Bielefeld University
  • Pennsylvania State University
  • Hunter College
  • University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
  • Auburn University
  • University of Cambridge
  • University of Jyväskylä
  • University of Queensland
  • University of Sussex
  • Yale University
  • Zoological Society of London
  • Max Planck Institute for Chemical Ecology
  • Carleton University
  • University of Newcastle upon Tyne
  • University of Liverpool
  • University of Exeter
  • Princeton University
  • University of Melbourne
  • University of Michigan
  • University of California, Davis
  • Ludwig-Maximilian University of Munich
  • University of Lausanne
Research areas and keywords

Subject classification (UKÄ) – MANDATORY

  • Evolutionary Biology
Original languageEnglish
Article numbereaan0221
Issue number6350
Publication statusPublished - 2017 Aug 4
Publication categoryResearch