Adaptive Daily Strategies in Behavior

  • Serge Daan


For most animals, the environment is a complex of variables fluctuating with a distinct 24-hr periodicity. There are abiotic fluctuations as a direct consequence of the earth’s rotation on its axis and of the periodic exposure of its surface to irradiation from the sun. Foremost among the physical factors with a distinct 24-hr pattern are light and temperature and, in addition, water vapor pressure and wind in the terrestrial milieu, oxygen pressure and turbulence in the aquatic milieu. Secondarily, there are biotic variations, due to organisms on other trophic levels, such as food species, predators, and parasites, or on the same trophic level: competitors and reproductive mates. By the creation of such daily patterns, the earth’s rotation has profoundly affected the ecological complexity of animal communities. Only a few environments, such as deep caves and ocean abysses, are fairly constant throughout the day. Some are only temporarily constant, at least in some variables (e.g., when covered by insulating snow and ice), or are polar habitats at the summer and winter solstices.


Daily Rhythm Black Grouse Daily Pattern Daily Movement Time Memory 
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Copyright information

© Plenum Press, New York 1981

Authors and Affiliations

  • Serge Daan
    • 1
  1. 1.Zoology DepartmentGroningen State UniversityHarenThe Netherlands

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