Scientia Marina, Vol 69, No S1 (2005)

Chronobiology: implications for marine resource exploitation and management

Ernest Naylor
School of Ocean Sciences, University of Wales-Bangor, Marine Science Laboratories, United Kingdom


Chronobiology began as a curiosity-driven science and now impacts significantly on the science of medicine through medical rhythm research and chronotherapeutics. However, whilst it has long been evident that rational exploitation and management of living organisms and their environments require detailed biological understanding, incorporation of the time-base of living systems into such activities has been slow. Evidence suggests that marine management and conservation strategies, whether directed towards the environment or fisheries, are only slowly taking account of the time-scales of endogenously controlled rhythmic animal behaviour as a basis from which to achieve their objectives. Similarly, in commercial aquaculture practices, there is a need for greater evaluation of the role of photoperiod manipulation and optimization of feeding regimes against the background of the endogenous rhythmicity of the organisms concerned. Correct synchronization of an organism’s endogenous biological oscillators, of tidal and/or daily to annual periodicities, is fundamental to its optimal physiological performance and survival.


chronobiology; marine exploitation; management; rhythms; rhythmic behaviour

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