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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.; Bloch, G. (2017). Two sides of a coin: ecological and chronobiological perspectives of timing in the wild. Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society of London Series B-Biological Sciences 372(1734): 20160246. https://dx.doi.org/10.1098/rstb.2016.0246
In: Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society of London Series B-Biological Sciences. ROYAL SOC: London. ISSN 0080-4622, more
Peer reviewed article  

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Author keywords
    chronotype; phenotypic plasticity; time programme; reaction norm; circannual; circadian

Authors  Top 
  • Helm, B.
  • Visser, M.E.
  • Schwartz, W.
  • Kronfeld-Schor, N.
  • Gerkema, M.
  • Piersma, T., more
  • Bloch, G.

Abstract
    Most processes within organisms, and most interactions between organismsand their environment, have distinct time profiles. The temporal coordinationof such processes is crucial across levels of biological organization, but disciplinesdiffer widely in their approaches to study timing. Such differences areaccentuated between ecologists, who are centrally concerned with a holisticview of an organism in relation to its external environment, and chronobiologists,who emphasize internal timekeeping within an organism and themechanisms of its adjustment to the environment. We argue that ecologicaland chronobiological perspectives are complementary, and that studies atthe intersection will enable both fields to jointly overcome obstacles that currentlyhinder progress. However, to achieve this integration, we first have tocross some conceptual barriers, clarifying prohibitively inaccessible terminologies.We critically assess main assumptions and concepts in either field, aswell as their common interests. Both approaches intersect in their need tounderstand the extent and regulation of temporal plasticity, and in the conceptof ‘chronotype’, i.e. the characteristic temporal properties of individuals whichare the targets of natural and sexual selection. We then highlight promisingdevelopments, point out open questions, acknowledge difficulties and proposedirections for further integration of ecological and chronobiologicalperspectives through Wild Clock research.This article is part of the themed issue ‘Wild Clocks: integrating chronobiologyand ecology to understand timekeeping in free-living animals’.

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