The case of the missing mechanism: How does temperature influence seasonal timing in endotherms?

Samuel P Caro, Sonja V Schaper, Roelof A Hut, Gregory F Ball, Marcel E Visser

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Temperature has a strong effect on the seasonal timing of life-history stages in both mammals and birds, even though these species can regulate their body temperature under a wide range of ambient temperatures. Correlational studies showing this effect have recently been supported by experiments demonstrating a direct, causal relationship between ambient temperature and seasonal timing. Predicting how endotherms will respond to global warming requires an understanding of the physiological mechanisms by which temperature affects the seasonal timing of life histories. These mechanisms, however, remain obscure. We outline a road map for research aimed at identifying the pathways through which temperature is translated into seasonal timing.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere1001517
Number of pages8
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 2013


  • Animal Migration
  • Animals
  • Birds
  • Global Warming
  • Hibernation
  • Humans
  • Rodentia
  • Seasons
  • Sexual Behavior, Animal
  • Temperature

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