Did You Know sunlight affects

Did You Know sunlight affects
Image Credit- Image Credit - WallpaperUP

How are different animals affected by sunlight?

We are all aware that every living organism depends on sunlight for its survival, directly or indirectly. Sun rays are the ultimate source of energy on earth. In parallel, many geographical activities are also affected by sunlight. Sun rays are also essential for synthesising Vitamin D, which is important for forming strong bones.

In addition, sunlight also affects the life and behaviour of animals in different ways –

  • Migration: Migratory birds (those that fly out to different parts of the world in the winter to escape the cold) know that it is time to fly to warmer places when the daylight hours become shorter, ultimately decided by the sun’s situation.
  • Hibernation: Some mammals (any member of the group of vertebrate animals in which the young are nourished with milk from special mammary glands of the mother) also know that it is time to hibernate as the days become shorter and shorter.
  • Breeding: Spring, when the hours of daylight start increasing after a long winter, is a time for courtship for many birds and animals.
  • Egg-laying patterns: Similarly, hens and other egg-laying birds need a certain amount of daylight to maintain peak egg-laying. Even an hour or two less of daylight alters egg-laying patterns.

It is believed that animals can sense changes in the quality of light, and its duration with a part of the brain called the pineal gland.

A reptile (tetrapod vertebrate, a creature that either has four limbs or, like snakes, is descended from four-limbed ancestors) found only in New Zealand, the tuatara has a third eye, called pineal eye, located on top of its head that is light-sensitive and controls the behaviour of the animal.

 

Why is UV light harmful to us?

                                               Image Credit – Stantec

The light which comes from Sun refers to the electromagnetic radiation of the sun that reaches the earth, particularly infrared, visible light, and ultraviolet light. These lights have different properties according to their wavelength, ultraviolet possesses high energy (low wavelength)  compared to visible light and has much higher penetrating power, hence responsible for many skin problems like itching, redness, sunburns, and skin cancer.

UV light can be reflected strongly from the surface of water, and white surfaces such as snow, and can cause a form of photokeratitis called snow blindness. Eye damage from UV rays is widespread in the North and South Pole areas or in high mountains where the atmospheric barrier is thinner and provides less protection from UV rays.

It is always better to wear protective goggles or sunglasses that filter out UV light and save your eyes from serious damage.

Though some UV rays from the Sun penetrate Earth’s atmosphere, most of them are blocked from entering by various gases like ozone in the ozone layer. However, the depletion of the ozone layer in the Earth’s upper atmosphere means that more and more UV rays are reaching the surface of the Earth which is dangerous for life on earth.

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