Accessibility navigation

Challenges in coupling atmospheric electricity with biological systems

Hunting, E. R., Matthews, J., Fernández de Arróyabe Hernáez, P., England, S. J., Kourtidis, K., Koh, K., Nicoll, K. ORCID:, Harrison, R. G. ORCID:, Manser, K., Price, C., Dragovic, S., Cifra, M., Odzimek, A. and Robert, D. (2021) Challenges in coupling atmospheric electricity with biological systems. International Journal of Biometeorology, 65. pp. 45-58. ISSN 1432-1254

Text (Open Access) - Published Version
· Available under License Creative Commons Attribution.
· Please see our End User Agreement before downloading.


It is advisable to refer to the publisher's version if you intend to cite from this work. See Guidance on citing.

To link to this item DOI: 10.1007/s00484-020-01960-7


The atmosphere is host to a complex electric environment, ranging from a global electric circuit generating fluctuating atmospheric electric fields to local lightning strikes and ions. While research on interactions of organisms with their electrical environment is deeply rooted in the aquatic environment, it has hitherto been confined to interactions with local electrical phenomena and organismal perception of electric fields. However, there is emerging evidence of coupling between large- and small-scale atmospheric electrical phenomena and various biological processes in terrestrial environments that even appear to be tied to continental waters. Here, we synthesize our current understanding of this connectivity, discussing how atmospheric electricity can affect various levels of biological organization across multiple ecosystems. We identify opportunities for research, highlighting its complexity and interdisciplinary nature and draw attention to both conceptual and technical challenges lying ahead of our future understanding of the relationship between atmospheric electricity and the organization and functioning of biological systems.

Item Type:Article
Divisions:Science > School of Mathematical, Physical and Computational Sciences > Department of Meteorology
ID Code:91804


Downloads per month over past year

University Staff: Request a correction | Centaur Editors: Update this record

Page navigation