All organisms exhibit cyclical modulations in their level of activity, taking into account the need for adaptation. Long-term and short-term cycles are therefore predominant and are time-organized homeostatic activity that is dictated or even exploited by cyclical variations of environmental variables.
Such variations are many and well known; Examples are day and night fluctuations, the passing of the seasons and the associated cold, dark or wet periods or a combination of these, as well as the abundance or lack of resources in ecological niches. Cyclical variations can be found predominantly from microorganisms to single and multicellular organisms, including humans and their socio-economic life, which also depends crucially on the natural rhythms of the day and the seasons.
The 2017 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine was awarded to those who discovered some of the molecular mechanisms underlying circadian rhythms and provided the first mechanistic insights into the physiological organization of their cyclical activities by organisms, particularly the ~ 24-hour period of the Earth’s rotation, delivered.
The activity rhythms of all biological organisms, both plants and animals, are closely linked to the gravitational waves that are generated by the orbital mechanics of the sun-earth-moon system. This truth has been somewhat neglected by scientific research.
This is what researchers have now discovered in a study by Cristiano de Mello Gallep from the University of Campinas (UNICAMP) in the state of SÃ£o Paulo, Brazil, and Daniel Robert from the University of Bristol in the United Kingdom. An article on the study was published in the Journal of Experimental Botany.
âAll matter on earth, both living and inert, experiences the effects of the gravitational forces of the sun and moon, which are expressed in the form of tides. The periodic vibrations have two daily cycles and are modulated monthly and annually by the movements of these two heavenly bodies. All organisms on the planet have evolved in this context. What we wanted to show in the article is that the gravitational tides are a perceptible and powerful force that has always shaped the rhythmic activities of these organisms. “ Gallep tells.
The study is both a comprehensive literature review and a meta-analysis of the data from three previously published cases in which gravitational causality has not been fully explored: the swimming activity of woodlice, small shell-less crustaceans that have appeared on Earth at least 300 million years ago; Reproductive effort in corals; and growth modulation in sunflower seedlings derived from autoluminescence. In the latter case, the researchers analyzed the results of their research and data from the literature.
âThe data show 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 calls into question the validity of so-called free-running experiments, in which several environmental factors are controlled but gravitational vibrations are not taken into account. These vibrations persist and can modulate the behavior of living organisms. “ said Gallep.
FAPESP supported the study through three projects (16 / 50344-6, 15 / 11280-0 and 18 / 05300-6).
Many of the rhythmic patterns of organisms are known and have been extensively studied. This includes circadian rhythms that are associated with the day-night or light-dark cycle. However, some rhythmic cycles are preserved even when the light factor is isolated under laboratory conditions, and the contributions of other environmental factors have been studied and demonstrated, although in many cases their effects are comparatively weak. The study in question looked at, among other things, 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 accordance with the ebb and flow of the tide in a cycle of approximately 12.4 hours resulting from the lunisolar dynamics, even when placed in a laboratory with stable and controlled water conditions.” said Gallep. “The pattern lasts for several days and corresponds to the lunisolar tidal time at the point where the organisms were collected in nature.”
âA well-known case is leaf movements, the rhythmic movement that occurs due to changes in the turgor of the pulvini and extensor muscle cells of the petioles. This kinetic process is regulated by the inflow and outflow of water and potassium ions, which serve to change cell volume over time. Recently it was also found that the calcium ion content is involved in the production of rhythmic leaf movements. Such movements, which were first examined in detail by Darwin (1897), are particularly persistent in permanent light and were once regarded as the âRosetta stoneâ of the cyclical behavior of plants, although the associated circadian nature of movement is still not fully understood “. Study quotes.
Although the combined gravitational effect of the sun and moon is only one millionth of the earth’s gravity, it is sufficient to cause large-scale tidal fluctuations in oceans, rivers and lakes and to move the tectonic plates. The Large Hadron Collider (LHC), operated by the European Organization for Nuclear Research (CERN), with a circumference of 27 kilometers, is displaced vertically by 1 millimeter by this gravitational fluctuation. Your scientists have to adjust their experimental calculations accordingly.
Gallep first discovered these periodicities in experiments using autoluminescence in connection with seed germination in Limeira, SÃ£o Paulo state. âI observed that there were changes in the collected signal every 12 or 24 hours, but it was different for each germination test. When I looked for assistance in the literature, I found studies that suggested a possible correlation with gravitational waves. We examined this phenomenon in subsequent tests with different types of seeds and also added results that we received in the laboratory of employees in Prague, Czech Republic, in Leiden, the Netherlands, and in Hamamatsu, Japan. “ he said.
Gravitational cycles don’t just affect the simplest organisms. Scientific studies have shown that people kept in the dark tend to establish a cyclical fluctuation of 24.4-24.8 hours in accordance with the lunar cycle. This tendency has also been seen in people who spend long periods of time in caves. It causes the alternation of sleep and wakefulness, meal times and other metabolic functions.
These data show that local gravimetric tides are sufficient to cause cyclical behavior in the presumed absence of rhythmic signals such as light and temperature.
- Cristiano de Mello Gallep, Daniel Robert; Is the cyclical behavior of plants and animals driven by gravimetric mechanical forces? Journal of Experimental Botany, erab462, DOI: 10.1093 / jxb / erab462