A Problem With the Ratchet Idea

I have discussed on this blog the idea that bioluminescent dinoflagellates are kinetitrophic organisms.  The light is evidence of a chemical ratchet that locks the energy flow in one direction, meaning that the cells convert kinetic energy to chemical energy, the light being equivalent to the clicks of a ratchet.  The idea fits the biology of these organisms pretty well except there is a small problem. 

Some bioluminescent dinoflagellates, particularly the photosynthetic ones, undergo daily changes in their ability to bioluminesce.  The scintillons are actually destroyed and reconstructed in a cycle that is approximately 24 hours in length.  The light potential is brightest at night.

Does that blow the idea out of the water?  I don’t think so, but it does present a major hurdle.  Apparently the chloroplasts also undergo a similar rhythm and are destroyed at night and reconstituted during the day.

So here is a challenge to you folks out there doing research on bioluminescent dinoflagellates.  Can you prove me wrong?  Can you prove me right?

If you can prove me right you will also re-write biology textbooks at all levels.  Great fame and fortune are probably in it for you as well.

If you can prove me wrong that is just as important, but I’m pretty sure there will not be any fame and fortune in it for you. 

Other organisms present in the environment might capable of converting kinetic energy into biochemical energy.  Think of something in a stream or steady wind.  How would you know if they could?  How would you know if they couldn’t?

I think that with bioluminescent dinoflagellates there is an answer:  yes or no.  And that answer could be fairly close.

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About the roused bear

Nature photographer from central Iowa.
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