Photoperiodic control of circadian activity rhythms in diurnal rodents

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Department of Biological Sciences


The responses of red squirrels (Tamiasciurus hudsonicus) and eastern chipmunks (Tamias striatus) to complete and skeleton light-dark (LD) cycles were compared. The skeletons, comprised of two 1-h pulses of light per day, effectively simulated the complete photoperiods in the squirrels, but not the chipmunks. Skeleton photoperiods greater than 12-h caused the chipmunks to shift activity from the longer to the shorter of the two intervals between the pulses. To interpret the mechanism of phase control, squirrels and chipmunks were kept in continuous darkness and exposed to 1-h light pulses every 10 days. The time-course of entrainment was also quantified. Both techniques produced light-response curves. The data suggest that the parametric and non-parametric contributions to entrainment are different in these two rodent species.

Publisher's Statement

© 1980 Swets & Zeitlinger B.V. Publisher’s version of record: https://doi.org/10.1007/BF02245543

Publication Title

International Journal of Biometeorology