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Questions tagged [ecology]

For questions dealing with the interactions between organisms and their environments.

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32 votes
10 answers
8k views

Is it a forgone conclusion that any exo-bacteria discovered on an alien, albeit Earth-like planet will be deadly to human life?

Would the discovery of alien bacteria found on even an Earth analog planet preclude the possibility of colonization due to the potentially deadly nature of bacterial/viral infections? Put differently, ...
Brian's user avatar
  • 685
63 votes
9 answers
15k views

A 40km diameter alien saucer is floating 2km above the ocean for a long time. What are the effects on the sea ecosytem below?

Twenty years ago, a 40km diameter alien saucer came to Earth, and stopped 2km above the Atlantic ocean, somewhere near the midpoint between Casablanca, Morroco and Natal, Brazil but over international ...
Mindwin Remember Monica's user avatar
27 votes
7 answers
8k views

Can every animal eat most other animals?

An idea for a story I’m working on involves a far away world that was once inhospitable. Scientists - likely alien ones - terraformed it so it could support life (coincidentally, Earth-like life). ...
HDE 226868's user avatar
  • 102k
9 votes
8 answers
888 views

What would encourage multiple animal species to evolve human features simultaneously?

The setting is fifty-five million years in the future on Earth, with multiple humanoid species that have different ancestors, but share similar characteristics. Their ancestors would be animals that ...
Lizardsaurus's user avatar
0 votes
2 answers
281 views

Impact of Chaos Sense

Monsters are creatures who lived in a world that was absorbed by the Fracture in Reality ; this exposed these once-normal animals to Chaos Energy that mutated them into fantasy-style monstrosities. ...
Alendyias's user avatar
  • 13.6k
30 votes
12 answers
6k views

How to wrap the Moon in plastic to make her a giant, supported by the atmospheric pressure, greenhouse

Moon's surface is about thirty million square kilometers large. That's a lot of plastic, but no bigger effort than many other terraforming projects we have discussed. Description: A global bubble ...
Ginasius's user avatar
  • 1,346
5 votes
5 answers
417 views

Faux-natural barriers between environments in a world-sized zoo

Suppose a K-II civilization built a terrarium or zoo, featuring life and ecosystems from different worlds as it travelled through the universe. (By K-II I mean in terms of resources and energy budget ...
JDługosz's user avatar
  • 69.6k
14 votes
2 answers
637 views

How big can Europan fish get?

Assumptions: Jupiter's moon Europa has a salty subsurface ocean in contact with a rocky mantle. The ocean is populated by hydrothermal vents produced by tidal heating. Global heat flow is similar to ...
Zxyrra's user avatar
  • 20.6k
6 votes
3 answers
2k views

How big is a dragon's hunting territory?

Dragons are very territorial apex predators. They build lairs on mountaintops, roost whenever they aren't hunting, and they hunt from the sky. With their size, wings and firebreath, there is no ...
user avatar
2 votes
2 answers
661 views

Biochemistry of a sulfuric acid world?

Much like the Cannonball world with iron carbonyl seas, Stephen Gillett, in the book World-Building proposes a world with sulfuric acid seas and oxygen atmosphere, with life based on silicone (...
Logan R. Kearsley's user avatar
2 votes
2 answers
264 views

What would the fastest way for microscopic humanoids to spread across the world?

As part of a series of questions that I've been doing about microscopic humanoids ... In my world, there are a race of microscopic humanoid organisms (0.3 mm - 0.33 mm). They live in a variety of ...
user avatar
-3 votes
5 answers
428 views

Can a land-based organism get to be at least 100 ft. in length and still be plausible?

Basically, I'm trying to see if a land-based creature roughly between 50-100 ft. long could exist on Earth at the moment and still be scientifically plausible. I know that whales and other creatures ...
bsideswiped's user avatar
  • 1,221
20 votes
5 answers
4k views

99.9% of the flight-capable birds died at once. How screwed is the rest of the world?

When a massive handwavium accident happened on Earth, 99.9% of all flight-capable birds worldwide, instead of dealing with it, answered with "Nope, gone to heaven." Basically, they died ...
Mindwin Remember Monica's user avatar
20 votes
3 answers
926 views

A World Without Bugs

Winter is finally upon us! With winter comes a delightful break from the year-round torment of bugs flying your face. Winter is cold - as a result, you can peacefully breathe the winter air without ...
X-27 is done with the network's user avatar
18 votes
6 answers
3k views

What measures might an ancient civilization take to protect itself from extreme heat?

An ancient human like civilization exists on a planet like our own but warmer, with more deserts and smaller oceans. Climate change is forcing the daytime temperature slowly upwards. What measures ...
Slarty's user avatar
  • 37.7k
8 votes
4 answers
1k views

Realism of a setting with several sapient anthropomorphic animal species

The concept of a planet with several anthropomorphic sapient species (furries, if you will) is immensely popular. But would it actually make sense in the first place? I am aware of the issue of "...
autumnstorm451's user avatar
8 votes
8 answers
3k views

Make a tiny island robust to ecologic collapse

My world is to have a tiny island that will periodically be inhabited by a person or small group of people. By tiny I'm using a fuzzy yardstick: 1-50 hectares. When people are here, they will be ...
Arash Howaida's user avatar
8 votes
3 answers
244 views

Surviving a dark hycean world

A dark hycean world is supposed to be a hot water world with a thick atmosphere around a red dwarf star. This means it's tidally locked with one side forever facing the sun and the other forever ...
Joe Smith's user avatar
  • 3,192
8 votes
4 answers
459 views

Which modern organisms would survive a new K-Pg level impact?

EDIT: As many have pointed out, the whole Lunar Collision aspect I originally envisioned is probably more extreme than I predicted. I don't know where to start as far as the math goes, although my gut ...
Maddock Emerson's user avatar
7 votes
1 answer
210 views

Ecological implications of osmotic portals

Suppose some magical civilization on Earth-like planet can create portals. Any given portal entrances are spherical surfaces of the same radius. Any particle enters one sphere and exits another in the ...
Мікалас Кaрыбутоў's user avatar
7 votes
1 answer
274 views

Phonosynthesis - ecosystem where "plants" extract energy from sound, not light

I have an idea about a planet that is cold and dark, but very loud. Constant rolling storms, crashing glaciers and icesheets, earthquakes, volcanoes and so on. Instead of photosynthetic plants, as on ...
Tom O'Daighre's user avatar
6 votes
2 answers
474 views

How plausible are underwater trees?

In the process of developing an ocean world setting for my fiction, I have often pondered whether to give the sapient species of the world access to some form of wood or other resource from underwater ...
FrankRebin's user avatar
5 votes
2 answers
322 views

Biochemistry of the Cannonball world

In his classic book World-Building, Stephen Gillett briefly describes a proposal for a "Cannonball" world, depleted in volatiles and with a large amount of surface iron, with life based on ...
Logan R. Kearsley's user avatar
5 votes
1 answer
179 views

Molecular ecology for endogenous formamide formation?

Kind of a follow-up to this earlier question: How could formamide lakes form on an exoplanet? Suppose the problem of how to get an initial quantity of formamide is solved, and microbial life has ...
Logan R. Kearsley's user avatar
4 votes
3 answers
419 views

If mountain lions were Griffins, how would it affect other animals?

Griffins are the size of mountain lions, with wings that are used to glide. So a group of Griffins, instead of pursuing their prey over ground, could jump off a high rock and glide downwards and go ...
Xandar The Zenon's user avatar
4 votes
3 answers
387 views

How To Make Lightning

I am writing a sci-fi setting with space travel. In this there is an alien world important enough to require that I put thought into the ecosystem. Unfortunately, due to plot reasons, the usual ...
Disgusting's user avatar
  • 2,101
4 votes
5 answers
607 views

Is a rainforest (or any single-biome) planet feasible

Various sci-fi movies often have single-biome planets (such as Tatooine, for example). Obviously a desert planet is possible (witness: Mars), but what about a more complex ecosystem, such as a ...
Jim421616's user avatar
  • 143
4 votes
4 answers
989 views

What vegetation/biome could I expect in a tropical region at an average temperature of 8-9 degrees Celsius?

So, my climates are extreme due to a 31.1 degree axial tilt. The maps provided show a climate classification system based on prevailing winds and elevation. Based on Reddit user u/shagomir's Planet ...
Rúnatál Davino's user avatar
4 votes
3 answers
306 views

Can this town gain ecological advantage from their limnic explosion region?

I want a war between two iron-age cultures, Town A and Town B, based on the "haves" and the "have nots" where they both exist in the same exact climate and geography, however, Town ...
Vogon Poet's user avatar
  • 8,169
3 votes
2 answers
237 views

Argyria and Dwarven Industrial Runoff

The two stereotypes that I've seen the most about Dwarves are that they live in mountains and mine for precious metals and the like. Recently, I've been thinking of an interesting place to take that. ...
Lot-Of-Malarkey's user avatar
3 votes
1 answer
373 views

The creation of Fox-fire and illusions, for the nine-tailed fox

Since I'm getting plenty of great for my other question "How can a nine tailed fox catch its prey? Thought I might try to get ideas for both fox-fire and illusions. So far I've thought of ...
Alexander R. Hunt's user avatar
3 votes
1 answer
216 views

What kind of planet environment could best host aliens like *Battle: Los Angeles*?

If I want a home for aliens like those which invaded in Battle:Los Angeles, what would be the best fitting features? The aliens: Burn water for fuel (assume they are using deuterium for fusion) ...
Vogon Poet's user avatar
  • 8,169
2 votes
7 answers
790 views

How can humanity avoid an AI apocalypse? [closed]

2000-2040 humanity prepares for the AI singularity, during which the growth of artificial intelligence "explodes" leading to independence and true conciousness among some machines Approx 2050 the "AI ...
Jnani Jenny Hale's user avatar
1 vote
2 answers
375 views

Edestus Gigantus In modern oceans

What are the effects of introducing 2600 sharks of the primitive Edestus Gigantus specie* in modern waters in different places on earth? Will they survive, how ? for how long? can they destroy the ...
user avatar
1 vote
1 answer
137 views

The "Exciting" Drilling company dug an underground canal connecting Death Valley to the Pacific. How does it change the Mojave climate?

Badwater Basin, part of Death Valley, is 282 feet (86 m) below sea level at its lowest point. The "Exciting" drilling company, based in Nevada (they are exciting and not at all like their b**...
Mindwin Remember Monica's user avatar
1 vote
5 answers
311 views

Can Pinnipeds Fit in a Worm Forest?

In an alternate Earth, coral has been extinct for over 400 million years. In their place were the following: Bivalvia (clams, oysters, mussels) Cirripedia (barnacles) Canalipalpata (bristle-foot or ...
JohnWDailey's user avatar
  • 14.5k
1 vote
1 answer
236 views

What would be the repercussions of Megalodon never going extinct? [closed]

A long time ago the 60ft long Megalodon roamed the oceans, fast forward to 2.6 million years ago and they went extinct (and yes they definitely went extinct don't let the discovery channel fool you). ...
icewar1908's user avatar
  • 6,895