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Marine biorhythms : bridging chronobiology and ecology
Bulla, M.; Oudman, T.; Bijleveld, A.I.; Piersma, T.; Kyriacou, C.P. (2017). Marine biorhythms : bridging chronobiology and ecology. Phil. Trans. R. Soc. Lond. (B Biol. Sci.) 372(1734): 20160253.

Additional info:
In: Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society of London. Series B, Biological sciences. Royal Society: London. ISSN 0962-8436; e-ISSN 1471-2970, more
Peer reviewed article  

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Author keywords
    circadian; tidal; lunar, shorebirds; invertebrates; molecular

Authors  Top 
  • Piersma, T., more
  • Kyriacou, C.P.

    Marine organisms adapt to complex temporal environments that includedaily, tidal, semi-lunar, lunar and seasonal cycles. However, our understandingof marine biological rhythms and their underlying molecularbasis is mainly confined to a few model organisms in rather simplistic laboratorysettings. Here, we use new empirical data and recent examples ofmarine biorhythms to highlight how field ecologists and laboratory chronobiologistscan complement each other’s efforts. First, with continuoustracking of intertidal shorebirds in the field, we reveal individual differencesin tidal and circadian foraging rhythms. Second, we demonstrate that shorebirdspecies that spend 8–10 months in tidal environments rarely maintainsuch tidal or circadian rhythms during breeding, likely because of other,more pertinent, temporally structured, local ecological pressures such as predationor social environment. Finally, we use examples of initial findingsfrom invertebrates (arthropods and polychaete worms) that are being developedas model species to study the molecular bases of lunar-relatedrhythms. These examples indicate that canonical circadian clock genes (i.e.the homologous clock genes identified in many higher organisms) maynot be involved in lunar/tidal phenotypes. Together, our results and theexamples we describe emphasize that linking field and laboratory studiesis likely to generate a better ecological appreciation of lunar-related rhythmsin the wild.This article ispart of the themed issue ‘Wild clocks: integrating chronobiologyand ecology to understand timekeeping in free-living animals’.

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