The two dominant environmental oscillations shape biology and survival of species: the day–night cycle and the succession of the seasons in the year. Organisms have adapted to anticipate these variations by evolving internal circadian (ca.- about, diem- day) and circannual clocks. The former enables the organisms to regulate physiological functions on a daily basis, and the latter on the annual basis. In mammals, the suprachiasmatic nuclei (SCN) of the anterior hypothalamus contain master pacemaker and orchestrate peripheral clocks in synchrony with the daily 24 h light-dark cycle, while in birds circadian pacemake is an interacting system principally located in the retina, pineal and the hypothalamus. In this mini review, we discuss the role of circadian clocks in regulation of seasonal timing in higher vertebrates, with reference to birds and mammals.
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© 2017 Informa UK Limited, trading as Taylor & Francis Group.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics
- Physiology (medical)