Disrupted seasonal biology impacts health, food security and ecosystems

Stevenson, T.J. et al. (2015) Disrupted seasonal biology impacts health, food security and ecosystems. Proceedings of the Royal Society of London Series B: Biological Sciences, 282, 20151453. (doi: 10.1098/rspb.2015.1453) (PMID:26468242) (PMCID:PMC4633868)

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The rhythm of life on earth is shaped by seasonal changes in the environment. Plants and animals show profound annual cycles in physiology, health, morphology, behaviour and demography in response to environmental cues. Seasonal biology impacts ecosystems and agriculture, with consequences for humans and biodiversity. Human populations show robust annual rhythms in health and well-being, and the birth month can have lasting effects that persist throughout life. This review emphasizes the need for a better understanding of seasonal biology against the backdrop of its rapidly progressing disruption through climate change, human lifestyles and other anthropogenic impact. Climate change is modifying annual rhythms to which numerous organisms have adapted, with potential consequences for industries relating to health, ecosystems and food security. Disconcertingly, human lifestyles under artificial conditions of eternal summer provide the most extreme example for disconnect from natural seasons, making humans vulnerable to increased morbidity and mortality. In this review, we introduce scenarios of seasonal disruption, highlight key aspects of seasonal biology and summarize from biomedical, anthropological, veterinary, agricultural and environmental perspectives the recent evidence for seasonal desynchronization between environmental factors and internal rhythms. Because annual rhythms are pervasive across biological systems, they provide a common framework for trans-disciplinary research.

Item Type:Articles
Glasgow Author(s) Enlighten ID:Robinson, Dr Jane and Haydon, Professor Daniel and Jonsson, Professor Nicholas and MacLeod, Dr Ross and Evans, Professor Neil and Dominoni, Dr Davide and Hopcraft, Professor Grant and Biello, Professor Stephany and Helm, Dr Barbara and Ferguson, Professor Heather and Stevenson, Professor Tyler
Authors: Stevenson, T.J., Visser, M.E., Arnold, W., Barrett, P., Biello, S., Dawson, A., Denlinger, D.L., Dominoni, D., Ebling, F.J., Elton, S., Evans, N., Ferguson, H.M., Foster, R.G., Hau, M., Haydon, D.T., Hazlerigg, D.G., Heideman, P., Hopcraft, J.G.C., Jonsson, N.N., Kronfeld-Schor, N., Kumar, V., Lincoln, G.A., MacLeod, R., Martin, S.A.M., Martinez-Bakker, M., Nelson, R.J., Reed, T., Robinson, J.E., Rock, D., Schwartz, W.J., Steffan-Dewenter, I., Tauber, E., Thackeray, S.J., Umstatter, C., Yoshimura, T., and Helm, B.
College/School:College of Science and Engineering > School of Psychology
College of Medical Veterinary and Life Sciences > School of Biodiversity, One Health & Veterinary Medicine
Journal Name:Proceedings of the Royal Society of London Series B: Biological Sciences
Publisher:The Royal Society
ISSN (Online):1471-2954
Copyright Holders:Copyright © 2015 The Authors
First Published:First published in Proceedings of the Royal Society of London Series B: Biological Sciences 282:20151453
Publisher Policy:Reproduced under a Creative Commons licence

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