Laboratory research on biological rhythms has concentrated on basic processes studied in a small number of species, mostly rodents. Few studies have examined interspecies differences in basic processes, and fewer yet have addressed ecological issues in natural environments. Field studies, on the other hand, have lacked the methodological sophistication necessary for the attribution of rhythmicity to environment, endogenesis, or entrainment, which is an essential step in the understanding of the ecological and evolutionary significance of the observed rhythmic process. The future hopefully will bring numerous studies that combine the rigor of laboratory experimentation with the realistic complexity of natural environments into groundbreaking investigations of the interplay of environmental cycles that modulate biological rhythmicity.
See also: Seasonality.
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