Methods in field chronobiology

Research output: Contribution to journalReview article

Abstract

Chronobiological research has seen a continuous development of novel approaches and techniques to measure rhythmicity at different levels of biological organization from locomotor activity (e.g. migratory restlessness) to physiology (e.g. temperature and hormone rhythms, and relatively recently also in genes, proteins and metabolites). However, the methodological advancements in this field have been mostly and sometimes exclusively used only in indoor laboratory settings. In parallel, there has been an unprecedented and rapid improvement in our ability to track animals and their behaviour in the wild. However, while the spatial analysis of tracking data is widespread, its temporal aspect is largely unexplored. Here, we review the tools that are available or have potential to record rhythms in thewild animals with emphasis on currently overlooked approaches and monitoring systems. We then demonstrate, in three question-driven case studies, how the integration of traditional and newer approaches can help answer novel chronobiological questions in free-living animals. Finally, we highlight unresolved issues in field chronobiology that may benefit from technological development in the future. As most of the studies in the field are descriptive, the future challenge lies in applying the diverse technologies to experimental set-ups in the wild.

Details

Authors
Organisations
External organisations
  • Netherlands Institute of Ecology (NIOO-KNAW)
  • University of Glasgow
  • University of Groningen
  • Max-Planck Institute for Ornithology
  • Utrecht University
  • Czech University of Life Sciences Prague
Research areas and keywords

Subject classification (UKÄ) – MANDATORY

  • Evolutionary Biology

Keywords

  • Clocks, Fibroblasts, GPS-tracking, Incubation, Radar, Remote sensing
Original languageEnglish
Article number20160247
JournalPhilosophical Transactions of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences
Volume372
Issue number1734
Publication statusPublished - 2017 Nov 19
Publication categoryResearch
Peer-reviewedYes

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