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Friday, September 24, 2010

Exploring the Theory Behind Autumn Leaf Color Variation: Europe vs USA

The question is a simple one. Why Are Autumn Leaves Red in America and Yellow in Europe?

Following an ant on maple leaves... from Prince Turtle on Vimeo.
["Walking outdoors in the fall, the splendidly colorful leaves adorning the trees are a delight to the eye. In Europe these autumn leaves are mostly yellow, while the United States and East Asia boast lustrous red foliage. But why is it that there are such differences in autumnal hues around the world? A new theory provided by Prof. Simcha Lev-Yadun of the Department of Science Education- Biology at the University of Haifa-Oranim and Prof. Jarmo Holopainen of the University of Kuopio in Finland and published in the Journal New Phytologist proposes taking a step 35 million years back to solve the color mystery".] Read More
On a local level Linda Radimecky, Fort Snelling State Park naturalist for the MN DNR poses another typical fall question: 
Q: Why do trees change color in the fall and what determines if we have a good display on a given year?  
 A: Those magnificent colors you see in the fall are actually there all summer, it's just you can't see them because of the green chlorophyll in the leaves. As our days get shorter and the temperatures cool down, trees cease green chlorophyll production, causing the yellow chlorophyll to show. Any sugars trapped in the leaf react with each other in the presence of sunlight to form the reds and oranges - thus the more sun, the more brilliant the colors. The best weather conditions are the same ones we enjoy in the fall - bright, cool days and chilly but not freezing nights. The slightest change - too hot, too cold, too wet or too dry - can slow the process or cause trees to lose their leaves before they change color. 
Minnesota is fortunate to have many excellent places to view the changing season, from the northern hardwood forests along the North Shore to the prairie regions of the state. To get the latest information on when and where the fall colors are expected to be at their peak, check out the DNR's website.] Read More

tamaracks by *collectiveone on deviantART

In light of the autumnal mysteries discussed above, let's try to recognize a song for the season.  Take a listen to the vid below. See if you can guess who the references might be. I'll give you a hint, "By the Time I Get to Phoenix" by _________; not the Right Banke, but the__________ who wrote Walk Away R_________; and the M's & the P's who sang _________ ; also covered in glorious punk glee by the Ramones!

What's really special about this song fellow hipsters is the catchy, repetitive drumming pattern blended in with great 60's pop music samples and a killer lyric that would make George Harrison proud. Oh wait a minute now, is it about The Fall of Joy Division?

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