Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 80.djvu/24

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straight line and the positively heliotropic animal will move in a straight line to the source of light. (It was assumed that in these experiments the animal is under the influence of only one source of light and positively heliotropic.)

In a series of experiments I have shown that the heliotropic reactions of animals are identical with the heliotropic reactions of plants. It was known that sessile heliotropic plants bend their stems to the source of light until the axis of symmetry of their tip is in the direction of the rays of light. I found the same phenomenon in sessile animals, e. g., certain hydroids and worms. Motile plant organs, e. g., the swarm spores of plants, move to the source of light (or if they are negatively heliotropic away from it) and the same is observed in motile animals. In plants only the more refrangible rays from green to blue have these heliotropic effects, while the red and yellow rays are little or less effective; and the same is true for the heliotropic reactions of animals.

It has been shown by Blaauw for the heliotropic curvatures of plants that the product of the intensity of a source of light into the time required to induce a heliotropic curvature is a constant; and the same result was obtained simultaneously by another botanist, Froschl, It is thus proved that the Bunsen-Roscoe law controls the heliotropic reactions of plants. The same fact had already been proved for the action of light on our retina.

The direct measurements in regard to the applicability of Bunsen's law to the phenomena of animal heliotropism have not yet been made. But a number of data point to the probability that the law holds good here also. The first of these facts is the identity of the light reactions of plants and animals. The second is at least a rough observation which harmonizes with the Bunsen-Roscoe law. As long as the intensity of light or the mass of photochemical substances at the surface of the animal is small, according to the law of Bunsen, it must take a comparatively long time until the animal is automatically oriented by the light, since according to this law the photochemical effect is equal to the product of the intensity of the light into the duration of illumination. If, however, the intensity of the light is strong or the active mass of the photochemical substance great, it will require only a very shoi't time until the difference in the mass of photochemical reaction products on both sides of the animal reaches the value which is necessary for the automatic turning to (or from) the light. The behavior of the animals agrees with this assumption. If the light is sufficiently strong the animals go in an almost straight line to the source of light; if the intensity of light (or the mass of photosensitive substances on the surface of the animal) is small the animals go in irregular lines, but at last they also land at the source of light, since the directing