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Research Shows Gravitational Action of Sun and Moon Influences Behavior of Plants and Animals

Earth Moon Orbit Sun

Research conducted at the University of Campinas in Brazil was driven by observations of fluctuations in autoluminescence caused by seed germination in cycles regulated by gravitational tides.

The rhythms of activity in all biological organisms, both plants and animals, are closely linked to the gravitational tides created by the orbital mechanics of the Sun-Earth-Moon system. This truth has been somewhat neglected by scientific research but is foregrounded in a study by Cristiano de Mello Gallep at the University of Campinas (UNICAMP) in the state of São Paulo, Brazil, and Daniel Robert at the Seed Germination

Research was driven by observations of fluctuations in autoluminescence caused by seed germination in cycles regulated by gravitational tides. Credit: Cristiano de Mello Gallep/UNICAMP

“The data shows that in the absence of other rhythmic influences such as lighting or temperature, local gravitational tides are sufficient to organize the cyclical behavior of these organisms. This evidence questions the validity of so-called free-run experiments, in which several environmental factors are controlled but gravitational oscillations are not taken into consideration. These oscillations continue to exist, and may modulate the behavior of living organisms,” Gallep said.

The study was supported by FAPESP via three projects (16/50344-6, 15/11280-0, and 18/05300-6).

Many of the rhythmic patterns displayed by organisms are well-known and have been widely studied. They include circadian rhythms, which are linked to the day-night or light-dark cycle. However, some rhythmic cycles are maintained even when the factor light is isolated, under laboratory conditions, and the contributions of other environmental factors have been investigated and demonstrated, although their effects are comparatively weak in many cases. The study in question considered, among others, the persistence of tidal cycles in the behavioral patterns of coastal organisms such as crustaceans, when they are removed from their natural habitats.

“These animals modulate their behavior in tune with the ebb and flow of the tides, in a cycle of approximately 12.4 hours that derives from lunisolar dynamics, even when they’re moved to a laboratory with stable and controlled aquatic conditions,” Gallep said. “The pattern persists for several days, matching lunisolar tidal timing at the site where the organisms were collected in nature.”

Although the combined gravitational effect of the Sun and Moon corresponds to only a millionth of Earth’s gravity, it is sufficient not just to cause large-scale tidal fluctuations in oceans, rivers and lakes, but also to move the tectonic plates. The Large Hadron Collider (LHC), operated by the European Organization for Nuclear Research (DOI: 10.1093/jxb/erab462

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