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Zeitgeber (from German for "time giver") is any external (exogenous) cue that entrains the internal (endogenous) time keeping system of organisms. It is any feature of the external environment that provides clues as to the passage of time, for example the passage of the sun, moon and stars.
The strongest Zeitgeber, for animals, is light. Other, non-photic, zeitgebers include changes in:
- Barometric pressure
- Eating/drinking patterns
- Magnetic field
- Pharmacological manipulation
- Seasonal variations
- Social interactions,
- Temperature effects.
- Biological rhythms
- Circadian rhythm
- Environmental effects
- Infradian rhythm
- Phase response curve
- Suprachiasmatic nucleus or nuclei (SCN)
- Aschoff J (1965) The phase-angle difference in circadian periodicity.In "Circadian Clocks" (J. Aschoff, ed.). North Holland Press, Amsterdam, p 262–278.
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