Chronobiological research has seen a continuous development of novel approaches and techniques to measure rhythmicity at different levels of biological organization from locomotor activity (e.g. migratory restlessness) to physiology (e.g. temperature and hormone rhythms, and relatively recently also in genes, proteins and metabolites). However, the methodological advancements in this field have been mostly and sometimes exclusively used only in indoor laboratory settings. In parallel, there has been an unprecedented and rapid improvement in our ability to track animals and their behaviour in the wild. However, while the spatial analysis of tracking data is widespread, its temporal aspect is largely unexplored. Here, we review the tools that are available or have potential to record rhythms in the wild animals with emphasis on currently overlooked approaches and monitoring systems. We then demonstrate, in three question-driven case studies, how the integration of traditional and newer approaches can help answer novel chronobiological questions in free-living animals. Finally, we highlight unresolved issues in field chronobiology that may benefit from technological development in the future. As most of the studies in the field are descriptive, the future challenge lies in applying the diverse technologies to experimental set-ups in the wild.
|Journal||Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences|
|Publication status||Published - 09 Oct 2017|