Tuesday, October 09, 2007

Autumn colors

With autumn comes color changes in the trees, harvest moons, colder weather, and shorter days. It's mostly due to those shorter days that trees begin their annual process of conserving energy by shutting down sugar production in the leaf factories. As these processes stop, the leaves "die," green chlorophyll breaks down, and the other chemicals are revealed.

>>UPDATE, 30oct07: "Sunscreen for trees" new study reveals that there is more to the color change than previously thought<<

You can experience these changes up close and learn more about them during October. The Ball State Department of Biology is hosting Fall Tree Walks at Christy Woods and invites "you to enjoy fall colors and environmental education as part of the Field Station & Environmental Education Center’s quarterly programming."

These walks take place each Saturday at 1pm throughout October. The walks begin outside the Wheeler Orchid Collection Greenhouse with FSEEC Land Manager John Taylor leading the guided tour of approximately 45 minutes. The walks are free and open to the public. Parking is available in lot G13, south of the Wheeler Orchid Collection Greenhouse (OGH) (See MAP)."

Further Reading
-- websites
The Chemistry of Autumn Colors

North Carolina Cooperative Extension Service

Chemistry of Autumn Leaf Color

-- books & other library materials
Find books in the University Libraries by doing a keyword/words or phrase CardCat search using keywords "chlorophyll," "dendrology," "botany," "vascular plants," or "trees."

Or you can click HERE for a list of selected titles.