Marine Creatures Migrate by Moonlight

According to ScienceDaily, marine creatures living in the Arctic fjord, a permanently dark and frigid place, do not migrate by sunlight (as there is none) but rather they migrate by moonlight.  The tiny marine creatures, living all over the Arctic, have begun to migrate and live by, not the solar cycle but rather the lunar one, shifting “their activities from following the 24-hour solar day to following the 24.8-hour lunar day.” Their “mass migrations” “take place when the moon rises above the horizon, the researchers report.” These zooplankton actually contribute to the carbon cycle in the ocean because they moved “fixed carbon from the surface into the deep ocean.” They are able to achieve this because “there is no photosynthesis during the polar night, carbon is only moved into the deep by predators feeding on prey.” What I found most interesting about these creatures’ migrations is that no matter where they are, no matter how much ice covers the surface of the water, they still follow the patterns of the lunar cycle. The researchers even state that their mass sinkings “from the surface waters to a depth of about 50 meters every 29.5 days in the winter” coincide “with the full moon.” This to me is really amazing, the fact that they are so in tune with the lunar calendar that they consistently sink at the time of the full moon. I wonder what implications this will have on our future?

 

 

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