When the sun sets, some trees move their branches up or down as much as a centimeter or more. curtis/Shutterstock Trees don’t seem to do all that much. Occasionally their branches might sway in the breeze and many of them drop leaves on a regular basis. But it seems there’s a lot more going on with trees that we thought. Researchers have found that, at night, many trees periodically move their branches up and down slightly. This suggests that perhaps the trees are pumping water upwards slowly, hinting that the trees have some semblance of a pulse. “We’ve discovered that most trees have regular periodic changes in shape, synchronized across the whole plant and shorter than a day-night cycle, which imply periodic changes in water pressure,” András Zlinszky of Aarhus University in the Netherlands told New Scientist . For a 2017 study , Zlinszky and his colleague Anders Barfod used high-resolution terrestrial laser scanning, a technique often used in civil engineering to measure buildings. They surveyed 22 trees representing different species over a 12-hour period during a windless night to see if their canopies changed. In several of the trees, branches moved by about a centimeter up or down. […]

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