CLEMSON — Clemson University researchers say the public can help collect scientific information about the effect of Monday’s eclipse on plants for future generations.
This will be the first time since 1918 a total eclipse will cross the entire United States. Douglas Bielenberg, a Clemson plant physiologist, said because total solar eclipses are so rare, not many biological observations have been made on what takes place during totality.
“There is very little organized information related to what happens to plants, during a total solar eclipse,” Bielenberg said. “This will be a great opportunity for people to make and record observations.”
Because most of the obvious visible action will be taking place in the skies, Bielenberg said people will tend to “look up and not down.” But just as much action could be taking place on the ground as in the skies. Plant circadian rhythms could be affected and plants could attempt to get in their night positions even though night is still some hours away.
“People who have gardens can look for the leaves on the plants to droop, or get in their night positions,” Bielenberg said. “Because we don’t have much information from previous solar eclipses and because this solar eclipse will happen so quickly, we don’t know if plants will be affected. It will be great if people can check to see if their plants act as it was night.”