Photoperiodism: The Biological Calendar

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9780195335903: Photoperiodism: The Biological Calendar

Life evolves in a cyclic environment, and to be successful, organisms must adapt not only to their spatial habitat, but also to their temporal habitat. How do plants and animals determine the time of year so they can anticipate seasonal changes in their habitats? In most cases, day length, or photoperiod, acts as the principal external cue for determining seasonal activity. For organisms not living at the bottom of the ocean or deep in a cave, day follows night, and the length of the day changes predictably throughout the year. These changes in photoperiod provide the most accurate signal for predicting upcoming seasonal conditions. Measuring day length allows plants and animals to anticipate and adapt to seasonal changes in their environments in order to optimally time key developmental events including seasonal growth and flowering of plants, annual bouts of reproduction, dormancy and migration in insects, and the collapse and regrowth of the reproductive system that drives breeding seasons in mammals and birds.

Although research on photoperiodic time measurement originally integrated work on plants and animals, recent work has focused more narrowly and separately on plants, invertebrates, or vertebrates. As the fields have become more specialized there has been less interaction across the broader field of photoperiodism. As a result, researchers in each area often needlessly repeat both theoretical and experimental work. For example, understanding that there are genetically distinct morphs among species that, depending on latitude, respond to different critical photoperiods was discovered separately in plants, invertebrates, and vertebrates over the course of 20 years. However, over the past decade, intense work on daily and seasonal rhythms in fruit flies, mustard plants, and hamsters and mice, has led to remarkable progress in understanding the phenomenology, as well as the molecular and genetic mechanisms underlying circadian rhythms and clocks. This book was developed to further this type of cooperation among scientists from all related disciplines. It brings together leading researchers working on photoperiodic timing of seasonal adaptations in plants, invertebrates, and vertebrates. Each of its three sections begins with an introduction by the section editor, and at the end of the book, the section editors present a synthesis of common themes in photoperiodism, as well as discuss similarities and differences in approaches to the study of photoperiodism, and future directions for research on photoperiodic time measurement.

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About the Author:


Randy J. Nelson holds the Brumbaugh Chair in Brain Research and Teaching and is Professor and Chair of the Department of Neuroscience at Ohio State University.

David L. Denlinger is a Distinguished University Professor in the Department of Entomology at the Ohio State University.

David E. Somers is an Associate Professor in the Department of Plant Cellular and Molecular Biology at the Ohio State University.

Review:


"This new book will be an invaluable resource for scientists interested in the seasonal responses of organisms to their environment. For the first time in many years, comprehensive reviews of how plants, animals, and fungi determine and respond to the changing seasons have been brought together into one volume. The breadth and depth of these well-written reviews are impressive and should spark productive cross-disciplinary thinking in the field."--Stacey Harmer, Department of Plant Biology, University of California-Davis


"While the title of this comprehensive and timely book, Photoperiodism: The Biological Calendar, may indicate a rather narrowly focused book, that is certainly not the case. This comprehensive review of how, in most cases, the circadian clock is involved in measuring day length and how this information is used to regulate adaptive seasonal changes in diverse cellular, metabolic, physiological, and behavior processes across the plant and animal kingdoms, will be of broad interest to all biologists interested in the evolution of life on earth and the mechanisms underlying gene-environment interactions. Indeed, the photoperiodic response of many diverse species may represent quintessential model systems for the study and elucidation of the mechanisms that underlie gene-environment interactions that control life processes at all levels of organization."--Fred W. Turek, Charles E. and Emma H. Morrison Professor of Biology, Northwestern University


"An indispensable account of how plants and animals mark the passage of time and cope with seasonal variations in their environments. Molecular advances are highlighted, but not to the exclusion of the historical context that sets the stage for recent developments or the commonalities by which diverse organisms measure day length. This volume fills a large void and is destined to become the standard reference work on photoperiodism."--Irving Zucker, University of California-Berkeley


Given the prevalence of photoperiodic responses, this book is an important contribution,
not only for specialists studying photoperiodism and annual rhythms, but also for those in other fields such as ecology, animal behavior, chronobiology, neurobiology, and endocrinology." -- The Quarterly Review of Biology


" Photoperiodism - the biological calendar is a welcome contribution to the field of photoperiodic research because it brings together and summarises current understanding of the photoperiodic mechanisms present in all organisms, from animals and plants to invertebrates and fungi - something that has been needed for a long time. In short this book provides a pretty comprehensive summary of the current understanding of photoperiodic responses in a wide range of organisms." -- Stephen Jackson, Annals of Botany


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Randy J. Nelson (Editor), David L. Denlinger (Editor), David E. Somers (Editor)
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