The cycles of the Moon are said to affect reproductive rhythms, from humans to coral. How could this be?
- The Moon exerts a strong influence over life cycles on Earth.
- Cycles of the Moon have been linked to human fertility.
- The Moon governs the reproductive rhythm of corals.
- It is not yet clear exactly how the Moon exerts its influence.
Most ancient peoples believed the cycles of the Moon were linked to women's fertility.
The word 'menstruation' is derived from 'mene' – the Greek word for 'moon'.
Research conducted during the 1970s and 80s has shown that the Moon does have its part to play in the human fertility cycles.
Dr Winnifred Cutler, Athena Institute – "We knew that the Moon cycled every 29½ days, and we knew a 29½ day cycle was the most fertile women's cycle length – that a woman who had a 26 day cycle, or a 40 day cycle, or a 60 day cycle, was much less likely to be fertile in that cycle. The fertility cycles of women are related to the Moon cycle and I don't think women's fertility drives the Moon, I think it's the other way around."
There are some spectacular examples in nature where the Moon also has a strong influence on life cycles.
Australia's Great Barrier Reef is the largest living structure on Earth.
Along its entire length, the reproductive rhythms of the corals are governed by
Every year, five days after the November full moon, coral eggs and sperm are released into the shallow sea above the living reef.
The fertilised eggs then settle to become new coral polyps, and the cycle of life continues.
Coordinated relationships between reproductive and lunar rhythms have been documented in a number of plant and animal species.
But science is yet to determine exactly how the Moon exerts this powerful influence over our fertility.