Circadian Contributions to Survival

  • S. Daan
  • J. Aschoff
Part of the Proceedings in Life Sciences book series (LIFE SCIENCES)


The significance of biological rhythms can be discussed under at least two aspects. They serve, on the one hand, to attain an optimal temporal arrangement of animal behaviour within the cycles of the environment, as in the four “circa-clocks” (Aschoff 1981). On the other hand, this external adaptation results in internal temporal order which in itself may have selective value. In addition, there are many rhythmic processes within the organism, not related to any environmental periodicity, which in various ways contribute to the maintenance of functional integrity of the internal milieu (Aschoff and Wever 1961). In focussing on how circadian rhythms contribute to survival, we do well to consider them, first, as part of a spectrum of rhythms and to evaluate their possible intrinsic function regardless of the environmental day-night cycle. We then will proceed to a discussion of possible benefits to be derived from the adjustment to the periodic environment.


Circadian Rhythm Circadian System Daily Rhythm Common Vole Spontaneous Locomotor Activity 
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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin · Heidelberg 1982

Authors and Affiliations

  • S. Daan
    • 1
  • J. Aschoff
    • 2
  1. 1.Zoological LaboratoryGroningen UniversityHarenNetherlands
  2. 2.Max-Planck-Institut für VerhaltensphysiologieAndechsGermany

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