Doris Gomez

CNRS Researcher

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1919, route de Mende, 34293 Montpellier cedex 5

Phone : +33/0 4 67 61 32 60

E-mail: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. ou This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

I study visual communication at various scales: color perception, role of coloration in communication/camouflage, informative content of signals, evolution of signal design at large evolutionary scale. At the frontier between biology and physics, I study complex optical phenomena in birds and butterflies.



I am interested in coloration and visual communication at various evolutionary scales. I characterize coloration and model its perception to assess the informative content of coloration, and identify the potential receivers of the communication process. I manipulate color signals in experiments to understand how receivers use coloration to reach their decision, in relation to other sensory modalities. At a larger evolutionary scale, I run comparative analyses to understand the parts of shared ancestry and selection in driving the evolution of coloration, to ultimately determine the adaptive functions that are fulfilled by coloration. I use different approaches (correlative and experimental designs, comparative analyses) and various biological models (birds, insects, mammals, amphibians) to answer functional and evolutionary questions.

At the interface between physics and biology, my recent work aims to understand the functions and evolution of transparency in butterflies and iridescence in birds. 

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Sensory ecology - Evolutionary ecology - Animal behavior - Optics

Coloration - Iridescence - Polarization - Transparency - Communication - Camouflage

Spectrometry - Vision modelling - Comparative analyses

Birds - Insects - Amphibians - Mammals



Current projects

- Evolution and functions of iridescence in hummingbirds
- Transparency in butterflies, diversity and evolution
with Marianne Elias (biologie de l'évolution: UMR 7205, MNHN), Serge Berthier (physique optique: UMR 7588, INSP), Christine Andraud (physique optique: USR 3224, MNHN), Pascal Barla (informatique graphique: INRIA, Bordeaux), and Thierry Ondarçuhu (physique mécanique des fluides: UMR 5502, IMFT)
- Plant-insect communication, the case of the Asian hornet
with Laurence Gaume (UMR AMAP, CIRAD, Montpellier)
- Aesthetics of Ancient Maya writing
wit Julien Renoult (CEFE, Montpellier) and Jean-Michel Hoppan (UMR 8202 Sedyl)



 Brief CV

2014-: Centre of Evolutionary and Functional Ecology, Montpellier, France
2011-2014: CNRS (CR1) researcher, Mecadev Laboratory, MNHN, Brunoy, France
2010-2011: postdoctoral fellow, CEFE, Montpellier, France 
2007-2010: postdoctoral fellow, Mecadev Laboratory, MNHN, Brunoy, France
2005-2006: Lavoisier postdoctoral fellow, University of Bristol, UK
1999-2003: PhD in Ecology, University of Paris 6, France




-AVICOL, a software to analyse coloration from spectrometric data. Last update 2015. Go to AVICOL website

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- Sonio, a program to analyse acoustic data. Last update 2011.Go to Sonio website







- Robert A, T Lengagne, M Melo, D Gomez, C Doutrelant. 2021. Evolution of vocal performance and song complexity in island birds. Journal of Avian Biology. In press.


- Arias, M, L Leroy, C Madec, L Matos, C Tedore, M Elias, and D Gomez. 2021. Partial wing transparency works better when disrupting wing edges: Evidence from a field experiment. Journal of Evolutionary Biology. doi:10.1111/JEB.13943


- Gomez D, C Pinna, J Pairraire, M Arias, J Barbut, A Pomerantz, W Daney de Marcillac, S Berthier, N Patel, C Andraud, and M Elias. 2021. Wing transparency in butterflies and moths: structural diversity, optical properties and ecological relevance. Ecological Monographs. doi: 10.1002/ecm.147 pdf


- Robert A, M. Melo, T. Lengagne,  S Julien, D Gomez, C. Doutrelant. 2021. Patterns of bird song evolution on islands support the character release hypothesis in tropical but not in temperate latitudes. Journal of Evolutionary Biology. doi: 10.1111/jeb.13928 pdf


- Pomerantz A F, RH Siddique, E. Cash, Y Kishi, C Pinna, K Hammar, D Gomez, M Elias, N Patel. 2021. Developmental, cellular and biochemical basis of transparency in clearwing butterflies. Journal of Experimental Biology. doi: 10.1242/jeb.237917 pdf





- Gruson H*, Elias M, Parra JL, Andraud C, Berthier S, Doutrelant C, Gomez D. 2020. Distribution of iridescent colours in hummingbird communities results from the interplay between selection for camouflage and communication. Recommended by PCI Evolutionary Biology. doi: 10.1101/586362 pdf


- Arias M, Elias M, Andraud C, Berthier S, Gomez D. 2020. Transparency improves concealment in cryptically coloured moths. Journal of Evol. Biol 33, 247-252. doi: 10.1111/JEB.13560 pdf




- McClure M, Clerc C, Desbois C, Meichanetzoglou A, Cau M, Bastin-Héline L, Bacigalupo J, Houssin C, Pinna C, Nay B, Llaurens V, Berthier S, Andraud C, Gomez D*, and Elias M*.2019. Why has transparency evolved in aposematic butterflies? Insights from the largest radiation of aposematic butterflies, the Ithomiini. Proc R Soc B Biol Sci. 286, 20182769. doi: 10.1098/rspb.2018.2769. * equal contribution. pdf


- Robert A, Lengagne T, Melo M, Gardette V, Julien S, Covas R, Gomez D, Doutrelant C. 2019. The theory of island biogeography and soundscapes: species diversity and the organization of acoustic communities. Journal of Biogeography, 46, 1901-1911. doi: 10.1111/jbi.13.611 pdf


- Arias M, Mappes J, Desbois C, Gordon S, McClure M, Elias M, Nokelainen O, Gomez D. 2019. Transparency reduces predator detection in mimetic clearwing butterflies. Funct Ecol. doi:10.1111/1365-2435.13315 pdf


- Gruson H, Andraud C, Daney de Marcillac W, Berthier S, Elias M, Gomez D. 2019. Quantitative characterisation of iridescent colours in biological studies: a novel method using optical theory. Interface Focus. 9:20180049. doi:10.1098/rsfs.2018.0049 pdf




- Debat V, Berthier S, Blandin P, Chazot N, Elias M, Gomez D, Llaurens V. 2018. Why are Morpho Blue? Biodivers Evol.:139–174. doi:10.1016/B978-1-78548-277-9.50009-7 pdf




- de Premorel G, Giurfa M, Andraud C, Gomez D. 2017. Higher iridescent-to-pigment optical effect in flowers facilitates learning, memory and generalization in foraging bumblebees. Proc R Soc B Biol Sci. 284(1865):20171097. doi:10.1098/rspb.2017.1097 pdf


- Holveck M-J, Grégoire A, Guerreiro R, Staszewski V, Boulinier T, Gomez D, Doutrelant C. 2017. Kittiwake eggs viewed by conspecifics and predators: implications for colour signal evolution. Biol J Linn Soc. 122(2):301–312. doi:10.1093/biolinnean/blx065 pdf




- Lengagne T, Voituron Y, Gomez D. 2016. Male within-individual variability in a sexual signal component and its impact on female choice. Behav Ecol. 28(1):108–116. doi:10.1093/beheco/arw120 pdf




- Lengagne T, Gomez, D, Josserand R, and Voituron Y. 2015. Long Recording Sequences: How to Track the Intra-Individual Variability of Acoustic Signals. PLoS One 10, doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0123828 pdf




- Gomez D, Grégoire A, Del Rey Granado M, Bassoul M, Degueldre D, Perret P, and Doutrelant C. 2014. The intensity threshold of colour vision in a passerine bird, the blue tit. The Journal of Experimental Biology 217:3775-3778. doi: 10.1242/JEB.107573 pdf




- Doutrelant C, Grégoire A, Gomez D, Staszewski V, Arnoux E, Tveraa T, Faivre B, and Boulinier T. 2013. Colouration in Atlantic puffins and blacklegged kittiwakes: monochromatism and links to body condition in both sexes. Journal of Avian Biology 44:451-460.doi: 10.1111/J.1600-048X.2013.00098.X pdf 


- Feer F, Ponge JF, Jouard S, and Gomez D. 2013. Monkey and dung beetle activities influence soil seed bank structure. Ecological Research 28:93-102. doi:10.1007/S11284-012-1006-9 pdf


- Martin M, Meylan S, Gomez D, and Le Galliard J-F. 2013. Ultraviolet and carotenoid-based coloration in the viviparous lizard Zootoca vivipara (Squamata: Lacertidae) in relation to age, sex, and morphology. Biological Journal of the Linnean Society 110:128-141.doi: 10.1111/BIJ.12104 pdf




Gomez D, Barbosa A, Théry M, Aujard F, and Perret M. 2012. Age affects photoentrainment in a nocturnal primate. Journal of Biological Rhythms 27:164-171. doi: 10.1177/0748730411435223 pdf


Gomez D*, Huchard E*, Henry PY, and Perret M. 2012. Mutual mate choice in a female-dominant and sexually monomorphic primate. American Journal of Physical Anthropology 147:370-371.* Equal contribution of both authors. doi: 10.1002/AJPA.21653 pdf


- Languille S, Blanc S, Blin O, Canale CI, Dal-Pan A, Devau G, Dhenain M, Dorieux O, Epelbaum J, Gomez D, Hardy I, Henry PY, Irving EA, Marchal J, Mestre-Francés N, Perret M, Picq JL, Pifferi F, Rahman A, Schenker EI, Terrien J, Théry M, Verdier JM, and Aujard F. 2012. The grey mouse lemur: a non-human primate model for ageing studies. Ageing Research Reviews 11:150-162. doi: 10.1016/j.arr.2011.07.001 pdf





Gomez D, Richardson C, Théry M, Lengagne T, Léna J-P, Plénet S, and Joly P. 2011. Multimodal signals in male European treefrog (Hyla arborea), and the influence of population isolation on signal expression. Biological Journal of the Linnean Society 103:633-647. doi: 10.1111/J.1095-8312.2011.01662.X  pdf


Gomez D, Théry M, Gauthier A-L, and Lengagne T. 2011. Costly help of audiovisual bimodality for female mate choice in a nocturnal anuran (Hyla arborea). Behavioral Ecology 22:889-898. doi: 10.1093/BEHECO/ARR039 pdf




- Gomez D, Richardson C, Lengagne T, Derex M, Plenet S, Joly P, Léna J-P, and Théry M. 2010. Support for a role of colour vision in mate choice in the nocturnal European treefrog (Hyla arborea). Behaviour 147:1753-1768. doi: 10.1163/000579510X534227 and erratum doi: 10.1163/000579511X566979 pdf


- Holveck M-J, Doutrelant C, Guerreiro R, Perret P, Gomez D, and Grégoire A.2010. Can eggs in a cavity be a female secondary sexual signal?Male nest visits and modelling of egg visual discrimination in blue tits. Biology Letters 6:453-457. doi: 10.1098/rsbl.2009.1044 pdf


- Legagneux P, Théry M, Guillemain M, Gomez D, and Bretagnolle V. 2010. Condition dependence of iridescent wing flash-marks in two species of dabbling ducks. Behavioural Processes 83:324-330. doi: 10.1016/j.beproc.2010.01.017 pdf


- Perret M, Gomez D, Barbosa A, Aujard F, and Thery M. 2010. Increased late night response to light controls the circadian pacemaker in a nocturnal primate. Journal of Biological Rhythms 25:186-196. doi: 10.1177/0748730410368244 pdf


- Richardson C, Gomez D, Durieux R, Théry M, Joly P, Léna J-P, Plenet S, and Lengagne T. 2010. Hearing is not necessarily believing in nocturnal anurans. Biology Letters 6:633-635. doi: 10.1098/rsbl.2010.0038 pdf


- Théry M and Gomez D. 2010. Insect colors and visual appearance in the eyes of their predators. Advances in Insect Physiology 38:268-353. doi: 10.1016/S0065-2806(10)38001-5 pdf




- Gomez D, Richardson C, Lengagne T, Plenet S, Joly P, Léna J-P, and Théry M.2009. The role of nocturnal vision in mate choice: females prefer conspicuous males in the European treefrog (Hyla arborea). Proceedings of the Royal Society B-Biological Sciences 276:2351-2358. doi: 10.1098/rspb.2009.0168 pdf


- Lenouvel P, Gomez D, Théry M, and Kreutzer M. 2009. Grooming behaviours affects visual properties of feathers in male domestic canaries (Serinus canaria). Animal Behaviour 77:1253-1260. doi: 10.1016/j.anbehav.2009.02.007 pdf




- Amy M, Monbureau M, Durand C, Gomez D, Thery M, and Leboucher G. 2008. Female canary mate preferences: differential use of information from two types of male-male interaction. Animal Behaviour 76:971-982. doi: 10.1016/j.anbehav.2008.03.023 pdf


- Doutrelant C, Grégoire A, Grnac N, Gomez D, Lambrechts MM, and Perret P. 2008. Female coloration indicates female reproductive capacity in blue tits. Journal of Evolutionary Biology 21:226-233. doi: 10.1111/j.1420-9101.2007.01451.x pdf




Gomez D and Théry M. 2007. Simultaneous crypsis and conspicuousness in color patterns: comparative analysis of a Neotropical rainforest bird community. The American Naturalist 169:S42-S61. doi: 10.1086/510138 pdf


- Loyau A, Gomez D, Moureau B, Théry M, Hart NS, Saint Jalme M, Bennett ATD, and Sorci G. 2007. Iridescent structurally based coloration of eyespots correlates with mating success in the peacock. Behavioral Ecology 18:1123-1131. doi: 10.1093/beheco/arm088 pdf




- Moyen F, Gomez D, Doutrelant C, Pierson J, and Théry M. 2006. Interacting effects of signalling behaviour, ambient light and plumage colour in a temperate bird, the blue tit Parus caeruleus. Revue d'Ecologie (la Terre et la Vie) 61:367-382. pdf




- Théry M, Debut M, Gomez D, and Casas J. 2005. Specific color sensitivities of prey and predator explain camouflage in different visual systems. Behavioral Ecology 16:25-29. doi: 10.1093/beheco/arh130 pdf




Gomez D and Théry M. 2004. Influence of ambient light on the evolution of colour signals: comparative analysis of a Neotropical rainforest bird community. Ecology Letters 7:279-284. doi: 10.1111/j.1461-0248.2004.00584.x pdf




- Gomez D and Voisin J-F. 2002. Spectrometry validates subspeciation in the Kerguelen Tern Sterna virgata. Marine Ornithology 30:19-24. pdf



Useful links

 - Color and Vision Research Laboratory

useful to get information about vision, reference spectra for illuminants or human vision...


- Okhra, Conservatoire des Ocres et des Pigments

useful if you want to buy pigments or get training regarding coloration, during CNRS Thematic Spring Schools