Wonder why a long trip in an airplane causes jet lag, why night-shift
workers really are more tired, or what fireflies have taught us about
the human body's ability to track time?
Welcome to the world of biological clocksthe internal molecular
machines that keep track of time in organisms as diverse as fungi, fruit
flies, plants, and mammals. Join us on a brief tour of some of these
seasonal events and the rhythms behind them.
Summertime Events and Rhythms
- People often slow down, relax, and take summer vacations. But they
might suffer from jet lag if they fly across one or more time zones.
- Long days full of sunlight raise spirits, but in northern climates
the very long days may lead to people sleeping less.
- Most animals begin eating morefood is plentiful and grows
best in this season.
- Most plants grow more in the summertime, spending additional energy
on showy flowers or storing energy in deeper roots. These processes
are all made possible by tapping the abundant energy of the summer
- Humpback, fin, and mink whales migrate to the cool waters of New
England, while gray whales spend their summers in the northern Pacific
from Seattle up to British Columbia and Alaska.