biology zoology blog benno meyer rochow cave troglobites

Troglobites with Eyes?

Mr. Liddle solved that riddle

Our ancestors were troglodytes. They wore clothes of fur and lived in caves. To most people, however, the idea of living in a cave does not really strike them as terribly enticing: no sun, no flowers, no green plants, no breeze, no wide open spaces and always damp and cool. However, it is precisely the predictability of these conditions, their constancy, which are the characteristics of the cave habitat that work to the advantage of certain animals and make them actively search for caves to live in or even to embrace subterranean life on a permanent basis. —>—>

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 jamaican cave flies

Jamaican Cave Flies

Jamaican cave flies got rhythm!

Is it surprising that I hope the Jamaican sprinter Usain Bolt will hold his world records over 100 and 200 m for many years to come? Is it surprising I have a soft spot for Jamaica? I suppose not, because two of my daughters were born there. But Jamaica is not just Usain Bolt: Jamaica is famous for rum, reggae and rhythm (and bauxite, but we’ll ignore that for now). —>—>