Indexed on: 29 Jan '00Published on: 29 Jan '00Published in: BioEssays
The living clock that governs tide-associated organismic rhythms has previously been assumed to have a fundamental period of approximately 12.4 h, an interval that reflects the average period of the ebb and flow of the tide. But, in 1986, marine chronobiologists began to accumulate laboratory results that could not be explained by the action of such a clock. Prime among these findings was the discovery that, occasionally, one of the two daily peaks in an organism's rhythm assumed a different period from its partner. Similar results have since been observed in a host of different organisms. These data led to the circalunidian-clock hypothesis that envisions two basic 24.8 h clocks, coupled together in antiphase, as the driving force for these rhythms. There is, however, only a slight difference (50 minutes) in running times between a solar-day clock with a period of approximately 24 h and a lunar-day clock with a period of approximately 24.8 h, both of which display "circa" periods that overlap. Here, I postulate that the two clocks are fundamentally one and the same. BioEssays 22:32-37, 2000.