Prof. Barbara Helm, GELIFES, University of Groningen – 12 March 2019

Ancient timers meet environmental change: bird clocks and calendars


Life on earth is deeply rhythmic. In adaptation to cycles in their environments, organisms show anticipatory rhythms, ranging from behaviour to gene expression. These rhythms are based on ancient timers which interact with environmental cues. Humans, in their strife to create conditions that constantly suit our needs, rapidly alter the environments for which these timers have evolved. How species can respond to these changes depends on properties and plasticity of their biological rhythms. I will explain principles of biological rhythms, focusing on daily (circadian) clocks and annual (circannual) calendars of birds. I will then give examples of avian responses to the loss of natural darkness to a modified climate, reporting on studies of wild and captive birds.

Nature of Life seminars

Date       :   12 March 2019

Time       :   15.45 hours

Location:   Room WN-C147, W&N building VU Amsterdam