Clocks for the city: circadian differences between forest and city songbirds

Dominoni, D.M., Helm, B., Lehmann, M., Dowse, H.B. and Partecke, J. (2013) Clocks for the city: circadian differences between forest and city songbirds. Proceedings of the Royal Society of London Series B: Biological Sciences, 280(1763), (doi:10.1098/rspb.2013.0593)

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Abstract

To keep pace with progressing urbanization organisms must cope with extensive habitat change. Anthropogenic light and noise have modified differences between day and night and may thereby interfere with circadian clocks. Urbanized species, like birds, are known to advance their activity to early morning and night hours. We hypothesized that such modified activity patterns are reflected by properties of the endogenous circadian clock. Using automatic radio telemetry we tested this idea by comparing activity patterns of free-living forest and city European blackbirds (Turdus merula). We then recaptured the same individuals and recorded their activity under constant conditions. City birds started their activity earlier and had faster but less robust circadian oscillation of locomotor activity than forest conspecifics. Circadian period 35 length predicted start of activity in the field and this relationship was mainly explained by fast paced and early-rising city birds. Although based on only two populations, our findings point to links between city-life, chronotype and circadian phenotype in songbirds and potentially in other organisms that colonize urban habitats, and highlight that urban environment can significantly modify biologically important rhythms in wild organisms.

Item Type:Articles
Status:Published
Refereed:Yes
Glasgow Author(s) Enlighten ID:Dominoni, Dr Davide and Helm, Dr Barbara
Authors: Dominoni, D.M., Helm, B., Lehmann, M., Dowse, H.B., and Partecke, J.
College/School:College of Medical Veterinary and Life Sciences > Institute of Biodiversity Animal Health and Comparative Medicine
Journal Name:Proceedings of the Royal Society of London Series B: Biological Sciences
Publisher:The Royal Society
ISSN:0962-8452
ISSN (Online):1471-2954
Copyright Holders:Copyright © 2013 The Authors
First Published:First published in Proceedings of the Royal Society of London Series B: Biological Sciences 280(1763):20130593
Publisher Policy:Reproduced in accordance with the copyright policy of the publisher

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