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Data from: Social forces can impact the circadian clocks of cohabiting hamsters


Paul, Matthew J.; Indic, Premananda; Schwartz, William J. (2015), Data from: Social forces can impact the circadian clocks of cohabiting hamsters, Dryad, Dataset,


A number of field and laboratory studies have shown that the social environment influences daily rhythms in numerous species. However, underlying mechanisms, including the circadian system’s role, are not known. Obstacles to this research have been the inability to track and objectively analyse rhythms of individual animals housed together. Here, we employed temperature dataloggers to track individual body temperature rhythms of pairs of cohabiting male Syrian hamsters (Mesocricetus auratus) in constant darkness and applied a continuous wavelet transform to determine the phase of rhythm onset before, during, and after cohabitation. Cohabitation altered the predicted trajectory of rhythm onsets in 34% of individuals, representing 58% of pairs, compared to 12% of hamsters single-housed as ‘virtual pair’ controls. Deviation from the predicted trajectory was by a change in circadian period (t), which tended to be asymmetric—affecting one individual of the pair in nine of 11 affected pairs—with hints that dominance might play a role. These data implicate a change in the speed of the circadian clock as one mechanism whereby social factors can alter daily rhythms. Miniature dataloggers coupled with wavelet analyses should provide powerful tools for future studies investigating the principles and mechanisms mediating social influences on daily timing.

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