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  Phenology (Greek, ‘study of happening’), in the life sciences, is the study of the timing of regular, natural phenomena, such as the flowering of plants and the rutting of deer. Many such phenomena are timed to coincide with cyclic variations which determine resource availability, such as changes in ambient temperature and day length. Thus many organisms time certain events which are important to their life cycles to occur during particular seasons; the production of young in the spring, for example, coincides with warmer weather and the availability of plentiful food, so deer time their rut to occur in autumn, allowing gestation to proceed over the winter. Phenology is concerned with events which occur on a seasonal basis rather than cyclic phenomena which occur more frequently, such as circadian (daily) rhythms. RB

See also biological rhythm; chronobiology.



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