Photobiology pp 335-387 | Cite as

The Biological Clock and Its Resetting by Light

  • Anders Johnsson
  • Wolfgang Engelmann



This chapter presents the role light plays in synchronizing biological clocks with the 24 hour cycles of the earth. We will first characterize the different clocks used by organisms. The functions and properties of these clocks are mentioned. In the following section we explain how light synchronizes circadian (that is close to 24 hour) clocks as well as other effects of light on circadian rhythms. Models and mechanisms of circadian clocks are discussed to understand the effects of light. The main part of the chapter presents several examples of organisms and their circadian systems. Man and mice are chosen as representatives of mammals. Furthermore we discuss the insect Drosophila, some plants including Arabidopsis, the unicellular dinoflagellate Gonyaulax, the ascomycetal fungus Neurospora and a cyanobacterium. In selecting these examples we want to show the general occurrence of circadian rhythms in almost all organisms and the similarities and differences in the effects of light and the mechanisms of the circadian clocks used by them. It will also become obvious that there are many questions open as is typical for a rapidly progressing research area.

General literature on the subject can be found in Roenneberg and Foster (1997). Dunlap (1999), Lakin-Thomas (2000), King Takahashi (2000). More detailed reviews are mentioned in the different sections.


Circadian Rhythm Light Pulse Circadian Clock Neurospora Crassa Circadian System 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2002

Authors and Affiliations

  • Anders Johnsson
    • 1
  • Wolfgang Engelmann
    • 2
  1. 1.Department of Physics, NTNUNorwegian University of Science and TechnologyTrondheimNorway
  2. 2.Institut für BotanikUniversität TübingenTübingenGermany

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