Ecospheres are probably one of the most interesting things to study if you are interested in life on Earth and how various eco systems compliment and benefit each other. Two scientists, Dr Clair Folsome and Dr Joe Hanson discovered the EcoSphere, they quickly became interested in them because each one is a representation of life on Earth and therefore could be extremely valuable to one of NASA’s programs that studies just that. It would also help scientists study life support systems for humans when in space, so that we might further our space travel. In short these little EcoSpheres are like miniature models of Earth, they contain everything they need to be completely self sufficient and therefore the inhabitants and environments are untouched by outside influences.
Inside each of the spheres you will find shrimp, algae, filtered sea water, gorgonian and gravel. The shrimp were picked as they are happy to coexist with each other without showing aggression and there for form a little community. As well as the shrimp there will be microorganisms living in the Ecosphere, attaching themselves to the glass, gravel and gorgonia. The gorgonia looks like a dead tree, in fact it is not a living material, but it provides surface area for algae and microorganisms, as well as adding interest to the sphere itself.
Every one of these EcoSpheres are unique.
Considering that the EcoSphere is a closed environment, it is natural to wonder just how it could possible work, well, it works on energy. It converts light to energy which is then stored, if there is too much light, the algae will be excited and use up the goodness contained in the water and if there is not enough light, the food that the shrimp rely on can not be produced and they will starve. A balance of around 4 to 12 hours of light per day will keep the EcoSphere healthy and thriving.
The shrimp eat algae and also the bacteria that resides within their little world. Bacteria are important as they help manage the waste created by the shrimp and convert it all to nutrients that are then absorbed by the algae. With everything that they do, the shrimp and bacteria produce carbon dioxide, this is then used by the algae to create oxygen that the shrimp breathes.
If you would like to find out more, make sure to check back with us over the next few months as we update you on social media how we are getting on, but if you can’t wait pop along to EcoSphere and learn all you can about the little worlds in a dome, maybe even purchase your very own one!
We have our very own EcoSphere and are going to keep an eye on our little kingdom, providing updates via social media and posts where suitable so anyone who wants to learn with us, can do. It will be a great experience for children who are interested in science. It is interesting and very exciting to see how the EcoSphere will develop and how our new little friends will get along, they may possibly be the easiest to care for pets! (Of course this is for science…)
Shrimpdonia is a place of harmony and sanctuary for its residents. There are seven residents currently who call Shrimpdonia home, the leader of this band of misfits took for himself the name ShrimpPimp, we did counsel him that this might not be the most appropriate of names, but alas he is stubborn and a force to be reckoned with, (that’s how we think he won the election to be in charge). As well as ShrimpPimp, we would like to introduce you to Shaun the Prawn (we told him that he is a shrimp, but he has aspirations like anyone else and was adamant he could be a prawn if he so wished). Next we have Sushi, the joker of the pack, Tiger who is practically transparent with faint stripes, Speedy who zips around all day every day, Little Ghost who is small and see through and finally we have Dave the Rave (don’t ask, he is a nightmare).
ake sure to pop back soon and find out how Mission Shrimpossible goes, which one of our new friends have a Licence to Krill and investigate the mysterious bubble with Shrimpspector Gadget!