Ecosystem in a Jar
Creating an ecosystem can be as simple as setting up a container or as complex as creating an ecosystem on a planet like Mars. The Earth's ecosystem consists of billions of species interacting in ways we don't always understand. If one species is eliminated a new species will take its place and the ecosystem survives. To colonize a planet we would want to make it self-sufficient and in order to do this we would have to set up an ecosystem. A very complex task. We can make a mini-ecosystem simply by using an aquarium, glass container or water bottle. 1
Meet David Latimer, Cranleigh, Surrey
Way back in 1960, on Easter Day, David started his ecosystem by simply planting a spiderwort seed in glass bottle and to his surprise, it thrived. In 1972 David said he grew concerned it might need water, so he added some and then closed it back up. He hasn't opened it since.
Buy or find a container such as a plastic drink bottle, milk bottle, glass fish bowl or aquarium. Green or brown containers will help diffuse the light. Thoroughly rinse the container out. Do not use soap. If necessary, use salt or baking soda for scrubbing.
Add gravel to your container about 3/4 inch deep.
Create a funnel with a piece of rolled-up paper and pour dry-to-lightly moist garden soil to about 1 inch deep.
Plant your plants using plant species that fit the size of your container. Do not over plant, leave room for growth.
Position a thermometer inside your ecosystem so you will be able to read the temperature, if you want to keep records.
Decorate your ecosystem by adding stones, woods or other items similar to those found in aquariums.
Add some animals to your ecosystem such as ants, worms, or flies.
Seal your ecosystem with a lid and tape and then place your ecosystem out of direct sunlight.
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© 2011 Joy Campbell