Researchers said that the behaviour is most likely an attempt by zooplankton to avoid predators hunting by moonlight.
Further investigation showed that the marine creatures had shifted their activities from following the 24-hour solar day to following the 24.8-hour lunar day.
In winter, zooplankton's vertical migrations take place when the Moon rises above the horizon, researchers said.
In addition to this daily cycle, they also discovered a mass sinking of zooplankton from the surface waters to a depth of about 50 meters every 29.5 days in the winter, coinciding with the full Moon.

According to researchers, this influence of zooplanktons' winter movements will need to be quantified and incorporated into biogeochemical models.
The findings were published in the journal Cell Press.


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