Flexible clock systems: Adjusting the temporal programme

Daan R. van der Veen*, Sjaak J. Riede, Paul D. Heideman, Michaela Hau, Vincent van der Vinne, Roelof A. Hut

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

41 Citations (Scopus)
49 Downloads (Pure)

Abstract

Under natural conditions, many aspects of the abiotic and biotic environment vary with time of day, season or even era, while these conditions are typically kept constant in laboratory settings. The timing information contained within the environment serves as critical timing cues for the internal biological timing system, but how this system drives daily rhythms in behaviour and physiology may also depend on the internal state of the animal. The disparity between timing of these cues in natural and laboratory conditions can result in substantial differences in the scheduling of behaviour and physiology under these conditions. In nature, temporal coordination of biological processes is critical to maximize fitness because they optimize the balance between reproduction, foraging and predation risk. Here we focus on the role of peripheral circadian clocks, and the rhythms that they drive, in enabling adaptive phenotypes. We discuss how reproduction, endocrine activity and metabolism interact with peripheral clocks, and outline the complex phenotypes arising from changes in this system. We conclude that peripheral timing is critical to adaptive plasticity of circadian organization in the field, and that we must abandon standard laboratory conditions to understand the mechanisms that underlie this plasticity which maximizes fitness under natural conditions.

This article is part of the themed issue 'Wild clocks: integrating chronobiology and ecology to understand timekeeping in free-living animals'.

Original languageEnglish
Article number20160254
Number of pages15
JournalPhilosophical Transactions of the Royal Society of London. Series B: Biological Sciences
Volume372
Issue number1734
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 19-Nov-2017

Keywords

  • chronobiology
  • seasonality
  • clocks
  • peripheral clocks
  • timing
  • circadian
  • PERIPHERAL CIRCADIAN CLOCKS
  • WHITE-FOOTED MICE
  • SQUIRREL SPERMOPHILUS-CITELLUS
  • VOLE MICROTUS-ARVALIS
  • SUPRACHIASMATIC NUCLEUS
  • GENE-EXPRESSION
  • PEROMYSCUS-LEUCOPUS
  • FEEDING SCHEDULES
  • DIURNAL RODENT
  • COMMON VOLE

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