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Discussion Questions

This page contains resource questions and discussion points designed to further conversation on the subject of circadian rhythms.


1. The biological rhythms that we observe in plants and animals are linked to geophysical rhythms of the earth. Define the terms circadian and circannual and describe the geophysical cycles that these rhythms are linked to. 


2. True biological rhythms are said to be endogenous. Explain the difference between exogenous and endogenous rhythms. 


3. A rhythm has a period. Define what is meant by the period of a rhythm. 


4. Explain the role of environmental cues in biological rhythms. 


5. Explain why animals like bees and godwits must have a biological clock in order to navigate. 


6. Circadian and circannual rhythms are found in almost all organisms. Explain why they are important to the survival of the organism.


Important Vocabulary: Test Yourself

Actogram Biological clock Chronobiology
Circadian Circannual Crepuscular
Critical day length Diurnal Endogenous
Entrainment Exogenous Free running period
Geo-physical Nocturnal Phase shift
Rhythm Sun compass Suprachiasmatic nuclei
Time zone Zeitgeber