[S6] Evolutionary significance of biological clocks

Biological clocks are found in almost all organisms and have evolved independently many times, suggesting they must convey considerable adaptive value. The adaptive value may lie in (1) optimizing energy expenditure in a world full of regular environmental changes, such as seasons, night and day and tides, (2) synchronizing reproduction within populations or with suitable environmental conditions or (3) escaping predation. In surprisingly few cases the adaptive value of biological clocks has been demonstrated experimentally. However, there are a number of examples where local adaptation of biological clocks to environmental clines (e.g. latitudinal temperature clines) gives indirect evidence for the adaptive value of biological clocks. These cases often also allow to study the evolutionary forces shaping biological clocks and their target clock molecules. Our symposium will be open to all evolutionary aspects of biological timekeeping - from seasonal over diel to tidal and lunar rhythms. We would like to showcase demonstrations of adaptive values of biological clocks, but also offer a platform for all other topics at the intersection of evolution and biological timekeeping. We aim to initiate discussion among evolutionary biologists and chronobiologists, in order increase mutual understanding and to foster the thinking about biological clocks in evolutionary terms.
Organizers: Roelof Hut, Tobias Kaiser
Invited speakers: Steven Reppert, Takashi Yoshimura