photoperiodism

Science Dictionary
photoperiodism (fō'tō-pîr'ē-ə-dĭz'əm) also photoperiodicity   (fō'tō-pîr'ē-ə-dĭz'əm)  Pronunciation Key 
The response of an organism to changes in its photoperiod, especially as indicated by vital processes. For example, many plants exhibit photoperiodism by flowering only after being exposed to a set amount of daylight, as by requiring either a long or short day to flower. Plant growth, seed germination, and fruiting are also affected by day length. Photoperiodic responses in plants are regulated by special pigments known as phytochromes. In animals, migration, mating, amount of sleep, and other behaviors are also photoperiodic. In many animals, photoperiodism is regulated by the hormone melatonin.
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