Gravitational tides set the pulse of life on Earth

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Pablo Javier Piacente

The rhythms of activity of all biological organisms, both plant and animal, are closely related to the gravitational tides created by the orbital mechanics of the Sun-Earth-Moon system.

An investigation carried out by scientists from the University of Campinas (UNICAMP), in Brazil, and the University of Bristol, in the United Kingdom, has verified, after analyzing the behavior of different organisms, that all forms of life on our planet are directly influenced by the gravitational tides produced in the interactions between the Sun, the Earth and the Moon. The influences on the life cycles are maintained even if aspects such as lighting or temperature, among others, are altered.

The new study, published in the Journal of Experimental Botany, revalues ​​this old, somewhat forgotten scientific truth, demonstrating again that gravitational tides are a perceptible and powerful force that has always shaped the rhythmic activities of all organisms on our planet.

An interconnected system

The origin of tidal forces It is based on the fact that the Earth is an extensive body and the gravitational field produced by the Moon or the Sun is not homogeneous in all its points: some of them are closer and others further away from our natural satellite or the sun king. Consequently, gravitational tides are a secondary effect of the force of gravity, which marks the existence of tides or the periodic change in sea level, produced mainly by the forces of gravitational attraction exerted by the Sun and the Moon on the Earth.

This determines that all matter on Earth, both living and inert, experiences the effects of the gravitational forces of the Sun and Moon, expressed in the form of tides. The periodic oscillations They are shown in two daily cycles and are modulated monthly and annually by the movements of these two celestial bodies. In this way, all organisms on the planet have evolved in this context.

According to a press release from the São Paulo Research Foundation (FAPESP), the researchers analyzed the behavior of different organisms and reviewed previous studies on the influence of gravitational tides on life cycles. The data makes it clear that in the absence of other rhythmic influences such as lighting or temperature, local gravitational tides are sufficient to determine the organization and cyclical behavior of these organisms, including cases such as small crustaceans that have existed on Earth for at least 300 million years or the reproductive efforts of corals.

Photo: Research has shown that fluctuations in lighting during seed germination do not suppress cycles regulated by gravitational tides, which continue to organize the behavior of these organisms. | Credits: Cristiano de Mello Gallep / UNICAMP.

Direct observation

The conclusions of the scientists determine that although various environmental factors are modified, gravitational oscillations continue to exist and are able to modulate the behavior of living organisms. Perhaps the most interesting contribution of the new study is the verification of this phenomenon in experiments that involved changes in lighting during the germination of sunflower seeds.

The researchers noted noticeable changes in the behavior of the sunflower seedlings every 12 to 24 hours, which differed in each germination test. They verified that they were due to a correlation with gravitational tides, through results obtained in the laboratory by collaborators located in different parts of the planet.

From these data, they concluded that modulation of seedling growth and biological rhythms matched the temporal patterns of gravitational tides, beyond the variants or interventions in other external factors such as lighting. This means that in the absence of rhythmic signals such as light and temperature, gravitational tides are sufficient to determine the cyclical behavior of all organisms.


Are cyclic plant and animal behaviors driven by gravimetric mechanical forces? Cristiano de Mello Gallep et al. Journal of Experimental Botany (2021). DOI: https: //

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