Two sides of a coin: ecological and chronobiological perspectives of timing in the wild

Helm, B., Visser, M. E., Schwartz, W., Kronfeld-Schor, N., Gerkema, M., Piersma, T. and Bloch, G. (2017) Two sides of a coin: ecological and chronobiological perspectives of timing in the wild. Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences, 372(1734), 20160246. (doi: 10.1098/rstb.2016.0246) (PMID:28993490)

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Abstract

Most processes within organisms, and most interactions between organisms and their environment, have distinct time profiles. The temporal coordination of such processes is crucial across levels of biological organization, but disciplines differ widely in their approaches to study timing. Such differences are accentuated between ecologists, who are centrally concerned with a holistic view of an organism in relation to its external environment, and chronobiologists, who emphasize internal timekeeping within an organism and the mechanisms of its adjustment to the environment. We argue that ecological and chronobiological perspectives are complementary, and that studies at the intersection will enable both fields to jointly overcome obstacles that currently hinder progress. However, to achieve this integration, we first have to cross some conceptual barriers, clarifying prohibitively inaccessible terminologies. We critically assess main assumptions and concepts in either field, as well as their common interests. Both approaches intersect in their need to understand the extent and regulation of temporal plasticity, and in the concept of ‘chronotype’, i.e. the characteristic temporal properties of individuals which are the targets of natural and sexual selection. We then highlight promising developments, point out open questions, acknowledge difficulties and propose directions for further integration of ecological and chronobiological perspectives through Wild Clock research.

Item Type:Articles
Status:Published
Refereed:Yes
Glasgow Author(s) Enlighten ID:Helm, Dr Barbara
Authors: Helm, B., Visser, M. E., Schwartz, W., Kronfeld-Schor, N., Gerkema, M., Piersma, T., and Bloch, G.
College/School:College of Medical Veterinary and Life Sciences > Institute of Biodiversity Animal Health and Comparative Medicine
Journal Name:Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences
Publisher:The Royal Society
ISSN:0962-8436
ISSN (Online):1471-2970
Published Online:09 October 2017

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