A tip of the hat
September 22, 2008, 9:41 am by bottleman. Filed under: closed ecological systems, shout-outs.

In milestones: after 13 months, the last shrimp “econaut” in the Sparks Research Group tabletop biospheres has passed on to that great biosphere in the sky.  A simple mix of plants, microbes, and minerals, with the addition of energy in the form of light, kept this ecological explorer alive for more than a year in a sealed 2-quart jar.

photo by sparks research group - used with permission

It’s been so heartening to watch people doing this project, but Sparks’ was especially successful.  13 months is an amazing demonstration of the effectiveness of ecological cycling.  Of course we experience ecological cycling every day, whenever we breathe or eat, but it’s so easy to forget that every breath and bite depend on forests, plants, insects, oceans…   I hope this kind of demonstration shows how powerful and tenuous those cycles are.  The cycles can and will go on, but whether they will serve to support our species (or another one, with strange new priorities) is another matter. :)

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