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Girl Reading

Volume 6, Issue 3

What's new?

Lunar Calendars

For a long time Ogg has had Moon Phase indicators on the Garden and Wildlife pages.
I have expanded these to provide two new Lunar Calendars showing a Month or a Year at at time.
At present they are based on UK longitude, but I have contacted a friend who is an amateur astronomer in the hope that he can explain (in words of one syllable, or simple equations) the under-lying mathematics so I can provide better accuracy for Oggies from North America and Australia and New Zealand.
I think all I need is a single, recent Date/Time for a New (or Full) moon at a given Longitude.

I hope these will prove useful for those of you who watch or film nocturnal wildlife or are interested in Bio-dynamics (planting by the moon).

Tides & Gravity

The Moon, and to a lesser extent the Sun drive the Tides.
To quote the Zoologist Dr. Paramasivam Kumarasamy:
Animals particularly those that live in the "inter-tidal zone" (such as crabs, clams etc. on the shore), exhibit an approximate 6 hour feeding rhythm even when the are kept under constant conditions (away from the shore) i.e. they exhibit what are called "circa lunar rhythms" (See "Clocks that time us" written by Moore-Ede).

Which seems logical, as most animals have built in rhythms, and in most cases these will be synchronised to the rise and fall of the tides or perhaps the intensity of moonlight, but I distinctly remember a claim that some Clams in non-tidal aquariums seemed to reset their clocks to match the position of the moon even when transported thousands of miles from where they had been caught, the inference being that they were directly sensitive to the moons gravity.
But despite much searching on the internet I have (so far) been unable to find more on this.

Although only easily noticable in large bodies of water, tides are every where, affecting everything.
There are tides in the atmosphere, ground water, the mantle of the earth and even in your water butt!
It does not seem unreasonable that they might affect every living system on the planet.

Moonlight & Animal Behaviour

It had been noticed for a long time that animals which feed or hunt at night change their behaviour according to the intensity of Moonlight...

Behavioural Ecologist Jennifer Clarke (UNC) in her Masters Project asked "Are predators more successful at catching prey on nights when there is a full moon? [and] Could it be that prey decreased their activity on full-moon nights to minimize their chances of being caught by a predator?
Her studies confirmed that this was certainly the case, and led to her continuing research on this topic.

Here is Dr. Kumarasamy again:
The night time light intensity variations caused by Moon revolution seem have an influence on the foraging pattern of nocturnal animals in the wild. For example, I study the foraging activity of fruit bats ( Cynopterus sphinx), in which I observed that to avoid predation (by owls, night jars etc.) these bats spend little time flying under bright moon light (as during full moon) nights compared to dark "star lit" (as during new moon) nights.

Nearer home Dr David Dixon who studied a group of 12 badgers in Plymouth for three years, observed that the frequency with which badgers left scent marks, designed to communicate sexual availability, varied substantially with the lunar cycle.
The males are responsible for the majority of badger scent marks, and make far more when the moon is in its darker phases. While mature females left markers when there was less moonlight, and attempts to mate when the moon was full were often strongly rebuffed by females.
(Dr Dixon wrote about his findings in the Sept 2005 edition of the BBC Wildlife Magazine)

Planting by the Moon & Biodynamics

Planting by the Moon is certainly intriguing, although I am not persuaded by Biodynamic theories, several very experienced gardeners swear that it works, and unless some properly controlled scientific experiments prove otherwise their opinions should not be dismissed out of hand.
But more importantly, our interest in gardening and the natural world gives us a direct contact with the marvelous planet; on and for which, our species evolved. The natural cycles of the earth, sun and moon are certainly a part of this, and it is perhaps that extra sense of connection which makes these pursuits so ineffably satisfying.

If you are interested in Planting by the moon or Biodynamics you may find these links worth a visit.

To have a look at the New Lunar Calendars go to the Garden or Wildlife pages on Ogg and click on the Lunar Calendars link, which you can find under the Moon Phase indicator.

There is only one part to the Newsletter this time.
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