Ecosphere - Large Round
Invented by NASA Scientists, The Ecosphere is the Worlds first totally enclosed Ecosystem - a complete, self contained and self sustaining miniature world encased in glass. It is simply incredible.
Each EcoSphere is a completely sealed ecosystem. It contains active micro-organisms - thats red shrimp and algae to you and me - in a clear ‘soup’ of filtered sea-water. Simply provide the EcoSphere with indirect natural or artificial light and the ecosystem will thrive without needing further attention. EcoSpheres have a life expectancy of two to three years but it is not uncommon for a system to last much longer – some have continued for over 10 years.
The Large Round Ecosphere is a serious sphere containing 12 to 15 shrimp which really makes a statement. It really does make an impressive centrepiece at home or in the office
Space Age Technology.
The EcoSphere is the result of technology developed at NASA’s research laboratories. NASA scientists were researching self-contained communities for space explorers to live in during long-term space flights. And out of this work came the EcoSphere – an ecosystem of animal and plant life in perfect balance with nature.
What is an EcoSphere?
An EcoSphere is a working ecological system and its biological cycle represents a simple version of Earth’s own ecosystem. While beautiful to look at, it demonstrates the delicate balance of a closed system like the Earth and contains some of the same essential elements that are found on our planet. The Earth is represented by the gravel at the bottom, with water filling approximately two-thirds of the system and air filling the balance of the space. Fire is represented by the light. And finally to complete the system, life – the shrimp, the algae and the bacteria.
Who developed EcoSpheres?
Originally discovered by two scientists, the EcoSphere is the result of technology developed at NASA’s research laboratories. NASA scientists were researching self-contained communities for space explorers to live in during long-term space flights. And out of this work came the EcoSphere – an ecosystem of animal and plant life in perfect balance with nature. The EcoSphere is a NASA-Jet Propulsion Laboratory Technology Transfer Program.
What's inside an EcoSphere?
Each system comprises a clear ‘soup’ of filtered seawater containing gravel and gorgonia (the non-living branch like material) together with 8 shrimp, algae and bacteria. Each is a key component of the ecosystem. The gravel, gorgonia and glass all provide surface areas to which the micro-organisms can attach themselves.
How does it work?
The EcoSphere works by gathering energy from the light and converting it biochemically. Light, together with the carbon dioxide in the water, enables the algae to produce oxygen by photosynthesis. The shrimp breathe the oxygen in the water and graze on the algae and the bacteria. The waste from the shrimp is broken down by the bacteria into nutrients, which in turn feed the algae. The shrimp and the bacteria also give off carbon dioxide and the cycle is renewed when the algae use this once again to produce oxygen.
How Long Will The System Live?
If you think the Ecosphere is cruel then fear not. The average life of the small EcoSpheres is two to three years, which is longer than if they were in the real ecosystem as they have no predators to worry about. It is not possible to be precise about the exact lifespan because much depends on the differing light and temperature conditions each system experiences. The actual age of the shrimp is also unknown. Some EcoSpheres have lasted ten years or more. The EcoSpheres need warmth as well as light to function correctly. Keeping the temperature fairly constant assists the long-term viability of the system.
Please note: We cannot ship to the Channel Islands.
Carl Sagan, the world-renowned cosmologist has written a fascinating article on EcoSpheres. To read the article simply click here.
Please note : Due to the nature of this item it is not possible to return an Ecosphere as unwanted.