day 1

5 December


Welcome event in the Centro da Memória,  Vila do Conde

17:00 Registration & Welcome reception


day 2

6 December


Event at P. Porto – Campus 2, Vila do Conde

08:00 Registration

09:00 Opening session

Session 1
Genetics and Evolution of Colour

09:30 Plenary talk · Marie Manceau · The developmental origin of colour patterns in birds

10:15 Oral communications

Anupama Prakash (University of Sheffield) A single-cell atlas of the pupal forewing of Bicyclus anynana butterflies and the generation of scale diversity

10:30 Coffee break

11:00 Oral communications

Melanie Brien (University of Helsinki) Colour polymorphism is associated with a single gene in wood tiger moths

Lynette Strickland (University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign)  A snapshot of color: Integrating ecology and genomics for a holistic view of color variation in Chelymorpha alternans

Benjamin Blackman (University of California) The genetics of ultraviolet nectar guide pattern diversity in the common monkeyflower

Alison Davis Rabosky (University of Michigan) How trait correlations build mimicry systems: A macroevolutionary test across Western Hemisphere snakes

Maria Emília Santos (University of Cambridge) The genetic loci of pigment pattern evolution in vertebrates


12:15 Lunch

Session 2
Mechanisms of Colour Production

14:00 Plenary talk · Dvir Gur · The Cellular Regulation of Molecular Crystal-Forming Cells

14:45 Oral communications

Miranda Sinnott-Armstrong (University of Cambridge) Multiple origins of lipid-based structural colors contribute to a gradient of fruit colors in Viburnum (Adoxaceae)

Gerben Debruyn (Universiteit Gent) Were early mammals dark muted creatures?

15:15 Coffee break

15:45 Oral communications

Mark Hauber (University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign) How the cuckoo finch produces mimetic egg colors via chemical forgery 

Michaël P.J. Nicolaï (Universiteit Gent) Evolution of multiple colour mechanisms enhances opportunities for ongoing speciation in sunbirds

Carlos Alonso-Alvarez (Museo Nacional de Ciencias Naturales – CSIC) Relocation to avoid costs: a hypothesis on red carotenoid-based signals based on recent CYP2J19 gene expression data

16:30 Poster session

day 3

7 December

Event at P. Porto – Campus 2, Vila do Conde
Session 3
Behavioural Ecology and Signalling

09:30 Plenary talk · Claire Doutrelant · Evolution of female ornamentation in birds: what we have learned so far and insight from a long term study of female blue tit coloration

10:15 Oral communication

Haley Kenyon (Queen’s University, Ontario) Colour as a between-species social dominance signal

10:30 Coffee break

11:00 Oral communications

Geoffrey Hill (Auburn University) Color displays produced by metabolized red carotenoids are inherently honest signals

Cristina Romero-Diaz (BIOPOLIS/CIBIO) Oestradiol reduces female bill colour in a mutually ornamented bird

Kevin McGraw (Arizona State University) Structurally based plumage coloration predicts viral  coinfection patterns in an introduced, urban North American parrot species

Hayley L. Crowell (University of Michigan) Scales of visibility: Evolution and ecology of ultraviolet coloration in snakes

Jill Sanderson (University of Toronto) Introducing DEWPAT, a novel suite of tools for measuring colour pattern complexity


12:15 Lunch

Session 4
Colouration Biology in a Changing World

14:00 Plenary talk · Ilik Saccheri · Recurrent evolution of melanic forms and colour plasticity in geometrid moths

14:45 Oral communications

Romain Villoutreix (Université de Montpellier)  Higher color difference between plants’ leaves and stems selects for discrete body coloration in Timema walking sticks

Mafalda Sousa Ferreira (BIOPOLIS/CIBIO) The evolution of seasonal camouflage in white-tailed jackrabbits in response to past and future climates

15:15 Coffee break

15:45 Oral communications

John David Curlis (University of Michigan) Using spatial distributions and large-scale translocation experiments to understand colour evolution in Anolis lizards across changing light environments 

Jonathan Goldenberg (Universiteit Gent) Ray of light: vegetation cover is the main driver of color brightness evolution in squamates

David López Idiáquez (Université de Montpellier) Long-term decrease in colouration: a consequence of climate change?


16:30 Closing ceremony

Final event in the centre of Vila do Conde

19:30 Social dinner

day 4

8 December


Social tour to Porto Highlights

15:00 Guided tour to the Natural History and Science Museum and Biodiversity Hall, Porto


The conference will be structured in four sessions, covering different topics. Each session will open with a plenary conference by a leading researcher in the topic, and will be followed by oral communications and poster sessions

Session 1

Genetics and Evolution of Colour

Colour has a central role in the history of genetics, with colourful traits used as some of the first systems to understand how evolution operates. More recently, the growing acessibility of genomic tools for non-model organisms has greatly expanded our knowledge on how genetic variation and its regulation control the expression of colourful traits. For this session we will discuss recent breakthroughs in our understanding on the genetic control of colour and larger patterns of colour evolution.

Session 2

Mechanisms of Colour Production

The wide palette of colours observed in organisms are generated by specific combinations of pigments and nanostructures in tissues, and the use of these different modes of colour production has distinct effects on multiple life-history traits. This session will address broad questions on organismal aspects of colouration, particularly (but not only) its physical and biochemical basis.

Session 3

Behavioural Ecology and Signalling

Long-standing debates in biology have focused on trying to understand the signalling value of different colours and patterns across organisms, linking them to multiple roles in intraspecific and interspecific communication. This session will highlight research in behavioural ecology that sheds novel perspectives on these classic questions.

Session 4

Colouration Biology in a Changing World

The world is changing at a very fast pace. As a crucial complex trait that mediates the interactions between organisms and their ecosystem, colour provides some of the most stunning examples of adaptation to changing environments. In this session we will discuss multidisciplinary research focused on understanding the adaptive role of colour, with a particular focus on examples showcasing how colour is involved with responses to the ongoing environmental changes.

Invited speakers

Collège de France, Paris (France)

Marie Manceau is CNRS Research Director. She is interested in studying the formation and evolution of patterns in the skin. 

She completed her PhD in avian developmental biology in the laboratory of Pr. Christophe Marcelle at the University of Marseille (France) in 2007, and then moved as a postdoc in the laboratory of Dr. Hopi Hoekstra at Harvard University, where she studied the developmental bases of color pattern variation in rodents.

Since 2013, she is a Research Group Leader at the Collège de France (CIRB). Marie also works as a naturalist guide in the Arctic and Antarctic.

Weizmann Institute of Science, Rehovot (Israel)

Dvir Gur received his Ph.D. in Chemistry from the Weizmann Institute in 2016, under Prof. Lia Addadi and Steve Weiner, studying the relationship between the structure of biophotonic systems and their optical properties.

He then moved to the Dept. of Physics of Complex Systems and the Dept. of Molecular Cell Biology as a Postdoctoral Fellow, with Prof. Dan Oron and Gil Levkowitz, studying how functional crystal-based organs are formed. Afterward, he moved to HHMI Janelia (Virginia), as a Human Frontiers Cross-disciplinary Fellow with Professor Jennifer Lippincott-Schwartz, where he studied the biological regulation over intracellular crystal formation.

Dvir joined the Department of Molecular Genetics at the Weizmann Institute a year and a half ago, where he opened his lab for Biological Crystallization Mechanisms and Biophotonics.

CEFE, Montpellier (France)

Claire Doutrelant is a senior CNRS researcher (eq. Prof) based at Centre d’Ecologie Fonctionnelle et Evolutive (CEFE) / University of Montpellier, France.

Her research is centered on the theoretical framework of evolutionary ecology, population biology and behavioural ecology.

Using long-term data sets, experiments and comparative studies in birds she is currently working on four main projects: 1) Evolution of colour ornamentation in birds (with a special focus on female coloration and blue tits); 2) the causes and consequences in life history traits of cooperation in sociable weavers; 3) the evolution of visual and colour signals on islands; and 4) the evolution of an extended phenotype: weaver nests.

University of Liverpool, Liverpool (UK)

Ilik Saccheri graduated in Ecological Science from the University of Edinburgh, and first started using Lepidoptera as model organisms during his PhD at the Universities of Leiden and London to study the fitness effects of population bottlenecks.

 This interest in the interaction between genetic load, inbreeding, and population dynamics led to postdoctoral research on natural and experimental butterfly metapopulations, based in Helsinki and Leiden. Taking up a lectureship at the University of Liverpool in 2000, he began working on the genetics of melanism in the peppered moth, first in Britain then expanding to other geographic regions and moth species. 

Whilst rearing large numbers of peppered moth caterpillars he became intrigued by their ability to change colour. Other ongoing research uses population genomics to study evolutionary and demographic consequences of environmental change, and the evolutionary genetics of sex-determination systems.



Campus de Vairão

Rua Padre Armando Quintas 7

4485-661 Vairão


Scientific Committee

Roberto Arbore

Zbyszek Boratynski

Gonçalo Cardoso

Miguel Carneiro

Miguel Carretero

Rita Covas

Rui Faria

José Melo Ferreira

Ana Leitão

Paulo Gama Mota

João Pimenta

Sandra Trigo