Light, time, and the physiology of biotic response to rapid climate change in animals.

  title={Light, time, and the physiology of biotic response to rapid climate change in animals.},
  author={William Bradshaw and Christina M. Holzapfel},
  journal={Annual review of physiology},
Examination of temperate and polar regions of Earth shows that the nonbiological world is exquisitely sensitive to the direct effects of temperature, whereas the biological world is largely organized by light. Herein, we discuss the use of day length by animals at physiological and genetic levels, beginning with a comparative experimental study that shows the preeminent role of light in determining fitness in seasonal environments. Typically, at seasonally appropriate times, light initiates a… 

Natural Variation and Genetics of Photoperiodism in Wyeomyia smithii.

The consequences of photoperiodism for organisms in new climates.

  • F. GrevstadL. Coop
  • Environmental Science
    Ecological applications : a publication of the Ecological Society of America
  • 2015
A conceptual framework and model is presented to investigate the ways that photoperiod-cued diapause can interact with a change in climate or latitude to influence voltinism in poikilothermic organisms and shows that even small changes in temperature can result in large and unexpected shifts in voltinists.

Environmental controls on the phenology of moths: predicting plasticity and constraint under climate change

Climate change will alter the phenological structure of the Finnish Lepidoptera community in ways that are predictable with knowledge of the proximate physiological controls, which could permit general inferences regarding climatic effects on mid- to high-latitude ecosystems.

Light and energetics at seasonal extremes limit poleward range shifts

Seasonality in light becomes increasingly extreme at high latitudes, both in terms of the diel light–dark cycle and the duration of light summers and dark winters. In contrast to temperature, this

Evolution of Marine Organisms under Climate Change at Different Levels of Biological Organisation

Predicting the responses of communities and populations to global change will require multidisciplinary efforts across multiple levels of hierarchy, from the genetic and cellular to communities and ecosystems.

Global phenological insensitivity to shifting ocean temperatures among seabirds

A comprehensive meta-analysis of 209 phenological time series from 145 breeding populations shows that, on average, seabird populations worldwide have not adjusted their breeding seasons over time or in response to sea surface temperature between 1952 and 2015.

Evolution of time-keeping mechanisms: early emergence and adaptation to photoperiod

  • R. HutD. Beersma
  • Biology, Environmental Science
    Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences
  • 2011
An explanation for why a circadian timing system has emerged in primitive life forms like cyanobacteria is suggested and a possible molecular mechanism that enabled these bacteria to adapt to seasonal variation in day length is evaluated.

The potential effects of climate-change-associated temperature increases on the metabolic rate of a small Afrotropical bird

Investigating the effects of a 4°C increase in ambient temperature similar to that predicted for southern Africa by the year 2080 on certain physiological variables of a 10–12 g passerine bird endemic to southern Africa concludes that the physiological flexibility of Cape white-eyes will aid them in coping with the 4° C increase predicted for their range by 2080.

Circadian rhythms and environmental disturbances – underexplored interactions

Human-induced changes in temperature, chemical discharge, eutrophication of water and the associated depletion of oxygen may disrupt the integration between circadian rhythms and other functions in animals.



Genetic response to rapid climate change: it's seasonal timing that matters

More effort should be made to explore the role of photoperiodism in genetic responses to climate change and to rule out the role in the timing of seasonal life histories before thermal adaptation is assumed to be the major evolutionary response toClimate change.

Evolution of Animal Photoperiodism

The role of day length cannot be disregarded when evaluating the mechanisms underlying life-historical events, range expansions, invasions of novel species, and response to climate change among animals in the temperate and polar regions of the world.


It is concluded that there should be more rapid evolution of photoperiodic response than of thermal tolerance as a consequence of global warming among northern, temperate ectotherms.

Influence of seasonal time constraints on growth and development of common frog tadpoles: a photoperiod experiment

The results indicate that in contrast to several insect species, the critical life history decisions in amphibian larvae may not be strongly influenced by photoperiodic cues, but different populations seem to differ in this respect.

Experimental determination of the photoperiodic basis for geographic variation in avian seasonality

What is known about the role of photoperiodic responses in shaping geographic variation in avian life cycles is reviewed, focussing on intraspecific comparative studies in passerine birds.

Life in the land of the midnight sun: are northern lizards adapted to longer days?

This work studied growth in juvenile common lizards originating from two environments differing in such thermal opportunity, with lizards experiencing long days in the wild showing a steeper increase in growth rate with increasing thermal opportunity.

Genetic and plastic responses of a northern mammal to climate change

The timing of breeding in this population of squirrels in the southwest Yukon, Canada, has advanced as a result of both phenotypic changes within generations, and genetic changes among generations in response to a rapidly changing environment.

Fingerprints of global warming on wild animals and plants

A consistent temperature-related shift is revealed in species ranging from molluscs to mammals and from grasses to trees, suggesting that a significant impact of global warming is already discernible in animal and plant populations.

Impacts of climate warming on terrestrial ectotherms across latitude

The results show that warming in the tropics, although relatively small in magnitude, is likely to have the most deleterious consequences because tropical insects are relatively sensitive to temperature change and are currently living very close to their optimal temperature, so that warming may even enhance their fitness.

Redefining the limits of day length responsiveness in a seasonal mammal.

A critical photoperiodic window of responsiveness to long days in mammals is predicted by a model wherein adenylate cyclase sensitization and clock gene phasing effects of melatonin combine to control neuroendocrine output.