The total solar eclipse in Wyoming and the United States in August 2017 offered scientists the opportunity to study a variety of celestial and earthly phenomena, from learning the solar corona to the behavior of animals and plants.
Daniel Beverly, a botany and hydrology graduate student from the University of Wyoming, used the solar eclipse to investigate the influence of the lunar shadow on an iconic plant in Wyoming and the Intermountain West: the large mugwort. He found that the brief darkness caused a significant reduction in photosynthesis and transpiration in the desert shrub, but not quite at the level of the nighttime.
In addition, the circadian rhythm – the reaction to the internal clock that is common to almost all organisms, including humans – was interrupted by sudden changes in sunlight beyond the typical cloud cover.
"The decreased temperature and lack of sunshine shocked the large mugwort circadian clock, triggering a response far beyond what happens when clouds block sunlight," says Beverly. Scientific Reports appears. "The duration of the total eclipse, however, was not sufficient to put the plants completely into the nocturnal state."
Scientists have studied in detail the response of animals to total solar eclipses. These results are mixed with birds, bees and spiders behaving at dusk, while animals such as dairy cattle and captive chimpanzees did not experience any behavioral changes. On the other hand, very little is known about the plants' reactions to eclipses on a small scale or in wide ecosystems. Beverly's study, which was attended by other UW scientists from the Department of Botany, the Ecology Program, and the Wyoming Geographic Information Science Center, provides some of the most detailed information on plant response and potential impact on a broad ecosystem ever reported ,
Beverly's field work took place at a location about 80 km southeast of Yellowstone National Park, on the way to the solar eclipse of August 21, 2017. The large mugwort dominates in this area. The site experienced a total solar eclipse of 2 minutes and 18 seconds, with the total duration of the partial and total solar eclipse being 2 hours, 45 minutes and 36 seconds.
The devices used during the study included a micrometeorological tower for detecting solar radiation and temperature changes; an infrared gas analyzer for the measurement of photosynthesis; and fluorometer for measuring the sheet reaction to changing light conditions. During the brief period of darkness, they found significant reductions in transpiration – evaporation of water from mugwort leaves – as well as photosynthesis, the conversion of light energy into chemical energy, which converts carbon dioxide and water into sugars and oxygen.
Beverly and his colleagues not only documented the response of certain mugwort plants to the solar eclipse, but also estimated the effects of the solar eclipse on mugwort-dominated areas on the way to totality. They calculated a reduction in carbon conversion in Western Big Sagebrush ecosystems by 14 percent that day.
"Despite its relatively short duration, the solar eclipse caused a significant reduction in the estimated daily carbon uptake in Big Sagebrush for the August 21, 2017 ecosystems," says Beverly. "This information gives us a broader understanding of the plant-physiological responses to sudden changes in light, temperature and humidity that the internal clock does not predict."
Is a solar eclipse in plant life the same night? Researchers test plant rhythms during the solar eclipse
Daniel P. Beverly et al., Big Sagebrush's Hydraulic and Photosynthetic Reactions to the Total Solar Eclipse 2017, Scientific Reports (2019). DOI: 10.1038 / s41598-019-45400-y
Answer by Beifuß on the solar eclipse 2017 (2019, 20 June)
retrieved on June 21, 2019
This document is subject to copyright. Apart from any fair dealings for the purposes of private study or research, no
Part may be reproduced without written permission. The content is provided for informational purposes only.