Origin and Diversification of Hormone Systems / Lunar periodicity and inner brain photoreceptors


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Kaiser Tobias

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1 Kaiser Tobias on Sat Oct 10, 2015 2:34 pm

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Research Topic: Mechanisms and evolution of lunar and circadian clocks

E-mail: tobias.kaiser(at)univie.ac.at

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The marine midge Clunio marinus (Diptera: Chironomidae) is found in the intertidal zone of the European Atlantic Coast. In adaptation to its habitat, the species has precisely timed adult emergence to the time when the water is as low as possible, i.e. to the low tides of spring tide days. Thus, adult emergence is characterized by both a lunar and a circadian rhythm. As the tides are influenced by coastline-geography, the time of low tide on spring tide days differs for different places along the coast. Adult emergence times of Clunio marinus populations from all over Europe have been shown to be locally adapted to the tidal regime (Neumann 1966). Crossing experiments indicate that the differences in circadian emergence time are genetically determined (Neumann 1967). Recent experiments revealed, that lunar emergence times also show genetic local adaptation to the tides (Kaiser et al. 2011). Furthermore, Clunio populations differ in their sensitivity to the zeitgebers of the lunar rhythm, some being sensitive to moonlight, and others being sensitive to tidal turbulence cycles or tidal temperature cycles.

In summary, Clunio marinus comprises many timing races. This gives ample opportunity for the comparative study of the molecular basis and the evolution of circadian and lunar clocks.

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