biology zoology blog benno meyer rochow biophotons lights

Biophotons do exist, but then so what?

That certain chemical reactions can result in the emission of light we learned at school and that fireflies and other light-producing organisms make use of such reactions we see in Nature. Lights like these are visible and intense. But what if organisms exist that produce light, which is so weak that we cannot perceive it? Are there any such organisms and if so, would such weak lights be of any use to them at all? These are questions Drs. Popp in Germany, Van Wijk in the Netherlands, Bajpai in India, Inaba in Japan, and Quickenden in Australia, amongst others, have been grappling with for years. —>—>

biology zoology blog benno meyer rochow chemotrophy cave movile

A Chemotrophic Ecosystem

The wonders of Romania’s “Movile Cave”

Most people would have been taught that life on Earth depended entirely on the sun and the green plants. The latter with their ability in the presence of chlorophyll and light to turn the inorganic molecules CO2 and water into organic carbohydrate (known as photosynthesis), are said to be the basis of the food chain for all animals A few people, however, may also have been taught that there is an alternative to photosynthesis, namely chemosynthesis and that this gave rise to a food chain, for example near hydrothermal vents, not based on green plants and sunlight, but on thermophilic bacteria that use hydrogen and sulphides to build organic material and release methane. But deep sea hydrothermal vents are not the only places where chemosynthetic activity leads to a food chain. The so-called “black layer” a few centimeters below the surface of intertidal mudflats is also a place of chemosynthesis, but the most amazing place is “Movile”. —>—>

biology zoology blog benno meyer rochow organs

Lacking Something ?

Organisms without the organs we expect them to have

Desmond Morris described us human beings as “Naked Apes”, but as I pointed out in an earlier blog, we are not totally naked, even without clothes. However, we do lack a tail – just like the other so-called “great apes”, but not the gibbons, the baboons, macaques, etc. When something is missing we notice it at once: a snake has no legs, but still does pretty well without them; whales and dolphins also lack them, and the kiwi bird of New Zealand, even though it’s a bird, does not even have wings. —>—>