The gravitational effects of the Sun and Moon affects animals and plants

The activity rhythms of all biological organisms, both plants and animals, are closely related 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 it has finally been fully substantiated in a study by scientists from the University of Campinas (Brazil) and the University of Bristol (UK). An article about the study was published in the Journal of Experimental Botany.

Scientists explain that all matter on Earth, both living and inert, is affected by the gravitational forces of the Sun and Moon, expressed in the form of tides. Periodic fluctuations exhibit two diurnal cycles and are modulated monthly and annually by the movements of these two celestial bodies. All organisms on the planet have evolved in this context. That is, gravitational tides are a tangible and powerful force that has always shaped the rhythmic activity of these organisms.

The study itself is both an extensive literature review and a meta-analysis of data from three previously published cases in which gravitational causality has not been fully investigated: the swimming activity of isopods, small shellless crustaceans whose appearance on Earth dates back at least 300 million years; the reproductive effort of corals; and autoluminescence-based modulation of sunflower seedling growth. In the latter case, the researchers analyzed the results of their own studies as well as data from the literature.

All these data show that in the absence of other rhythmic influences, such as light or temperature, local gravitational tides are sufficient to organize the cyclic behavior of organisms. This evidence calls into question the validity of so-called autonomous experiments, in which several environmental factors are controlled but gravitational fluctuations are not taken into account. Scientists emphasize that these oscillations continue to exist and can modulate the behavior of living organisms.

Many of the rhythmic patterns displayed by organisms are well known and widely studied. They include circadian rhythms, which are related to the day-night or light-dark cycle. However, some rhythmic cycles are maintained even when the light factor is isolated under laboratory conditions, and the contribution of other environmental factors has been investigated and demonstrated, although their influence is in many cases relatively weak. This study looked, among other things, at the maintenance of tidal cycles in behavioral models of coastal organisms, such as crustaceans, when they are removed from their natural habitat.

The researchers note that these animals change their behavior according to the tides in a cycle of about 12.4 hours, which is determined by lunar-solar dynamics, even when they are transferred to a laboratory with stable and controlled aquatic conditions. And this pattern persists for several days, which corresponds to the timing of the lunar-solar tide in the location where the organisms were collected in nature.

According to scientists, although the joint gravitational influence of the Sun and the Moon corresponds to only one-millionth of the Earth’s gravity, this is enough not only to cause large-scale tidal oscillations in oceans, rivers and lakes, but also to move tectonic plates. The Large Hadron Collider (LHC), operated by the European Organization for Nuclear Research (CERN), with a circumference of 27 kilometers, is offset vertically by 1 millimeter because of this gravitational wobble, and its scientists must adjust their experimental calculations accordingly.

It is important to note that gravitational cycles affect not only the simplest organisms. Scientific studies have shown that people in the dark tend to establish cyclic oscillations of 24.4-24.8 hours in accordance with the lunar cycle. This tendency has also been noted in people who spend long periods in caves. It accounts for the alternation of sleep and wakefulness, meal times, and other metabolic functions.