Rhythms of behavior: are the times changin'?

Curr Opin Neurobiol. 2020 Feb;60:55-66. doi: 10.1016/j.conb.2019.10.005. Epub 2019 Dec 5.


Animal life is rhythmic. Here we provide an overview of various rhythmic behaviors, connected environmental factors and endogenous mechanisms. We not only cover terrestrial species, but also highlight aquatic environments with typically complex interconnected rhythms. We further address diel, seasonal and potential lunar rhythms of humans. While we cannot be complete, we aim to emphasize three aspects: First, to raise awareness for the all-encompassing presence of behavioral rhythms and their importance in ecology and evolution. Second, to raise awareness how limited our mechanistic understanding is, besides analyses in a small set of model species. Finally, we discuss how anthropogenic effects can affect behavioral rhythmicity and how this might affect ecosystems in the future, as 'For the times they are a-changin''.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Behavior
  • Ecosystem*
  • Humans
  • Periodicity