Keith Dotson | Catching Shadows


Did you know that trees sleep at night?

Did you know that trees sleep at night?

Scientific experiment shows that tree branches droop at night, indicating rest

A few months ago, scientists discovered that trees “sleep” at night. Using laser scanners, they were able to prove that branches of large birch trees seem to droop or relax at night. While unsure the actual cause of the drooping, some ideas include the slowdown in photosynthesis in the dark, a lowering of internal water pressure, or perhaps simply that the trees are actually resting (Vox). It’s been known since Darwin’s time that smaller plants sleep at night, but it took modern technology to actually measure spatial differences in branches of large trees outside the lab setting. (See my gallery of sleepy-head sunflowers here)

All life is connected

I love this discovery because it once again shows how interrelated we are to other life forms. All of us on Earth (even microbes) are connected to the cycles of the sun, to the soil and water, and to each other. The Vox article describes it really elegantly, and includes images of the laser scans.

I’ve had a lifelong love for trees — ever since I climbed my first one as a young boy. I remember a feeling of sadness at seeing logging trucks full of freshly-cut trees rumbling past my grandmother’s house in Appalachia. When my artistic skills began to develop, I sketched them. As a photographer, trees are still among my favorite photographic subjects.

Black and white landscape photographs featuring trees


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