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 waterfall

Waterfall and their inhabitants

Waterfall and their inhabitants – thinking of Cherrapunji

In 1991 I spent two months of my sabbatical with my Indian wife at NEHU (the North East Hill University) in Shillong / Meghalaya. From there we once made a trip to Cherrapunji, also known as Sohra, to take a look at the majestic Nohkalikai Waterfall with its height of around 350 m. —>—>

biology zoology blog benno meyer rochow bubbles, froths, and foams

Bubbles, Froths, and Foams

The spittlebug is but one example

For years I had been seeking an opportunity to test my idea that the foam spittlebug nymphs surround themselves with, serves these insects not just as a deterrent to predators or to avoid desiccation, but has an additional important function as well. And finally during a research stay at the Chinese Academy’s Institute of Zoology in Beijing I got my chance. —>—>