Barbara Helm

BarbaraHelmUniversity of Glasgow

Living organisms are exposed to predictable, periodic change in their environments. Keeping track of and anticipating these fluctuations is often highly relevant for well-being, reproduction and survival. Chronobiology, the study of adaptations to cope with geophysical cycles, has revealed an almost ubiquitous presence of endogenous  biological clocks that help organisms keep pace with periodic change. In contrast to a progressively more detailed understanding of molecular mechanisms, we know surprising little about the functioning and relevance of biological clocks in “the real world” (Michael Menaker). Together with colleagues and students, we aim at integrating the great knowledge base derived from lab-based research with whole-organism studies under natural conditions. We pursue this goal by studying circadian and daily rhythms, as well as circannual and seasonal cycles. We are also interested in life-histories and physiological traits that relate to seasonality, and in particular in annual migration. I’m widely interested in clocks of all organisms but my own research focuses on biological time-keeping in birds.