Category: Circadian biology

  • How do animals perceive time?

    Good question Daniel from Gizmodo! Cavefish can ‘keep time’ via the circadian clock but whether they perceive it and what keeping time means when you’re underground is a mystery. Other researchers give more information in Daniel’s article: Gizmodo asks – How do animals perceive time?

  • Jet lag – the disadvantage of having a clock in the modern world

    Air travel challenges our bodies in a way that has never before been encountered in our evolutionary history. It allows us to move rapidly across multiple timezones, quicker than we could have ever moved by foot or animal. Unfortunately, our bodies are unable to adjust quickly enough. We are constrained by our circadian clocks, the things that give our bodies a […]

  • Presentiment – circadian clocks giving plants and animals a sense of time

    Presentiment is that long shadow on the lawn Indicative that suns go down; The notice to the startled grass That darkness is about to pass. Emily Dickinson Sometimes you find in literature beautiful expressions of technical terms that are otherwise dry and stuffy. Presentiment, by Emily Dickinson, is one of those beautiful expressions. Why did […]

  • Solstice

    In the northern hemisphere, today is the Winter Solstice, the shortest day of the year. The Solstice normally falls on either the 21st or the 22nd, the date changing based on the exact position of the north pole in relation to the sun. This is the same reason why we have leap years – our […]

  • Why have a circadian clock?

    Almost every animal and plant on the planet has a circadian clock, even those that live in the depths of the sea and deep underground in caves. The presence of clocks in almost all life-forms implies that it is a helpful or advantageous characteristic, an evolutionary adaptation, serving to improve the fitness of the organism. This […]

  • How do you study circadian rhythms?

    Science requires controlled and well-planned experiments. Without correct set-up, results from experiments may not be reliable enough to be trusted. Circadian biology is no different in that regard, and especially when trying to find out if something has a working circadian clock, controlled experiments are crucial.

  • What is a circadian clock?

    Broadly speaking, the circadian clock is a cell and molecular feedback loop – inside the cell, a bunch of proteins that interact with genes and DNA, which in turn interact back with those original proteins. This cellular feedback loop controls those outward and apparent rhythms we are aware of, like jet lag and waking, as well […]