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Seasonal Rhythms in Behavior

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Neuroscience in the 21st Century

Abstract

Seasonality has profoundly shaped the evolution of virtually all long-lived organisms on earth. Over most of the planet environmental conditions are not constant, but instead vary in dramatic albeit predictable ways. Food availability, ambient temperatures, rainfall, and a variety of other conditions vary with the changing seasons. As such, behavioral and physiological adaptations to the changing seasons are common among long-lived species across taxa. This chapter will cover some of the key seasonal rhythms in behavior and the neuroendocrine mechanisms that mediate seasonal timing.

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Abbreviations

cAMP:

Cyclic adenosine monophosphate

DHEA:

Dehydroepiandrosterone

DHT:

Dihydrotestosterone

DIO3:

Iodothyronine deiodinase type 3

GnIH:

Gonadotrophin inhibitory hormone

GnRH:

Gonadotrophin releasing hormone

IML:

Intermediolateral cell column

MT1:

Melatonin receptor type 1

MT2:

Melatonin receptor type 2

nAT:

N-Acetyl transferase

NRe:

Reuniens nucleus

PVN:

Periventricular nucleus of the hypothalamus

PVT:

Periventricular thalamus

SCN:

Suprachiasmatic nucleus

SCG:

Superior cervical ganglion

T3:

Triiodothyronine

Further Reading

  • Bronson FH (1985) Mammalian reproduction: an ecological perspective. Biol Reprod 32:1–26

    Article  PubMed  CAS  Google Scholar 

  • Goldman BD (2001) Mammalian photoperiodic system: formal properties and neuroendocrine mechanisms of photoperiodic time measurement. J Biol Rhythms 16:283–301

    Article  PubMed  CAS  Google Scholar 

  • Nelson RJ, Denlinger DL, Somers DE (2010) Photoperiodism: the biological calendar. Oxford University Press, New York

    Google Scholar 

  • Prendergast BJ, Nelson RJ, Zucker I (2009) Mammalian seasonal rhythms: behavior and neuroendocrine substrates. In: Pfaff D (ed) Hormones, brain and behavior, 2nd edn. Academic, San Diego, pp 507–538

    Chapter  Google Scholar 

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Correspondence to Zachary M. Weil .

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Weil, Z.M., Nelson, R.J. (2013). Seasonal Rhythms in Behavior. In: Pfaff, D.W. (eds) Neuroscience in the 21st Century. Springer, New York, NY. https://doi.org/10.1007/978-1-4614-1997-6_64

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