Where to Look

If we look for organisms that can convert kinetic energy into food–kinetitrophic organisms, where should we look?

People who speculate on the possibility that life exists on other planets sometimes mention the possibility of kinetitrophic organisms among the half dozen or so possible types of primary producers that could exist on those planets.  But they haven’t really demonstrated how these organisms could function.

If they could possibly exist on other planets, why couldn’t they exist on earth?  What habitats would we look in?  What would we look for that would show an organism was converting motion into chemical food energy?

Terrestrial plants use the sun to produce energy.  Limiting factors for land plants are water (or lack of it), the amount of sunlight present, and the presence or absence of minerals that can be used by the plants.

Plants in heavy shade are usually not exposed to significant amounts of wind.  Land plants do not seem to be the most likely candidates to be kinetitrophs.

But watch prairie plants or fields of grain moving in the wind, or watch a tree responding to a light breeze.  How much energy is in the wind?  Could any of it be transferred to the plant by some mechanism that we do not understand?  How would you know if it is?  How would you know if it is not?


About the roused bear

Nature photographer from central Iowa.
This entry was posted in Biological diversity, plants and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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