Questions tagged [ecology]

Ecology is the scientific analysis and study of interactions among organisms and their environment.

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62
votes
9answers
14k 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 ...
31
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10answers
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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, ...
31
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3answers
5k views

A pack of velociraptors in a modern ecosystem, that would be pretty horrible, right?

So there's been some industrial espionage committed against T-Rex Forever LLC. The method for how they acquired their T-Rexes has been stolen. Terrible Lizards Inc has acquired a mated pair of ...
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12answers
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 ...
28
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3answers
6k views

Wasp hives in a walking corpse. Why would wasps do this?

Just a bit of background: one of my favorite zombie causers is from the Dead Rising video game series. In it, the undead are reanimated by a wasp-like insect that lays eggs in a corpse (I think. It's ...
26
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11answers
5k views

Which plant species would be most likely to recover after a decade of no light?

Presume a decade of darkness, after a several months of steadily shortening daylight. Assume that the temperature and weather patterns remain (inexplicably) fairly unchanged. Ten years later, when ...
26
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6answers
7k 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). ...
18
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6answers
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 ...
18
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3answers
716 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 ...
17
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14answers
3k views

Retroactively modifying humans for Earth?

I understand, of course, that humans evolved for this exact environment! However, if you could travel back in time 2,000 years and modify our species (without any unintended health consequences), ...
15
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8answers
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How would a free floating ecosystem on an ocean world function?

The world in question is an Earth-sized planet with a deep global ocean and core of water-ice. Given the lack of an accessible sea floor to root oneself to, how would a complex free-floating organism ...
14
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3answers
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What Australian Megafauna Would be Suitable for Domestication, if Any?

Imagine an alternate universe where the aborigines' impact on the Pleistocene Australian ecosystem was much less severe than it was in our timeline, and the Pleistocene megafauna managed to survive ...
10
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3answers
2k views

Why do Ichisongas hate elephants and hippos?

In the mythology of the Lambas people of Zambia, there is a creature called the Ichisonga. It is a herbivore, and very rhinoceros-like in appearance. Upon hearing a hippopotamus, it allegedly sneaks ...
10
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3answers
2k views

What animals live in mushroom forests?

A followup to this question. In my world, mushroom producing fungi have developed a symbiotic relationship with algae (or cyanobacteria) similar to Prototaxites. These fungi exist alongside all the ...
10
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4answers
226 views

How long would it take for an array of introduced alien fauna to form functional ecosystems on a near-future “Dead Earth”?

Imagine that, in the near future, pollution, overpopulation and war leads to a massive extinction where almost all chordates, some invertebrates and many plants are wiped out. Small, resilient plants, ...
9
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6answers
1k views

Why would common city people want to protect a forest

I have a city on the edge of the sea and an ancient forest. The forest was protected for generations by local rulers but current ruler get bribed by foreign guilds to allow logging. The trees are old ...
9
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2answers
1k views

Is a single stable planetary ecosystem even possible? [duplicate]

Think of some famous outside-of-the-solar-system planets from say, Star Wars. Tatooine. Hoth. They all have something in common: No matter where you land, the landscape is pretty much the same: on ...
9
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7answers
2k views

A world with no carnivores

I have, what I hope to be, a fairly simple question. I am designing a planet where there are no carnivores. Assumptions The creatures would all be very complacent and would feed and live in very ...
9
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4answers
767 views

Realistic Alternatives to Dust: What Else Could Feed a Plankton Bloom?

Phytoplankton are not to be taken for granted. Not only do they form the core of marine food webs around the world, they also release half of the world's oxygen. But phytoplankton, being plant-like ...
8
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4answers
233 views

How to cause a surge in large carnivore diversity, roughly 5-7 million years hence?

I have had an idea for a possible story, where the protagonists are some kind of future, sapient hominid descendants (Not descended from humans; bonobos or gorillas or something). The main premise of ...
8
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2answers
161 views

How would you go about seeding oceans of Europa with adapted Earth life?

How do you go about building a working Earth-like ocean ecosystem from scratch in Europa's subsurface ocean? On Earth, abyssopelagic species have evolved to live more than 6km below the surface. ...
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5answers
1k views

Could a Planet's Ecosystem be run by a small variety of animals?

In my world, there's an era when only some 20 visible (big enough to see with the naked eye; all other animal life forms are microscopic) animal types lived on the planet. Mammals such as wolves, ...
7
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6answers
898 views

Could super-sized and intelligent detrivore aliens exist?

For my story I have an alien species who are detrivore. They are also an intelligent species on par with humans. But many people have pointed out to me that intelligent detrivores don't work, because ...
7
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2answers
1k views

How would coral reefs thrive on this super-earth world?

I have a super-earth world. The surface of the world is shallower due to extra gravity, so shorter mountain ranges and less ocean depths. The world orbits a binary star system at a distance of the ...
7
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3answers
384 views

Fertilizing desert in magical medieval world

Suppose there exists a magic-based civilization. Their mining techniques are medieval and their understanding of organic chemistry and biology are on the Enlightenment era level. However, they are ...
7
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3answers
229 views

Can black algae promote a global warming on a cold planet?

My world is at the outer edge of the habitable zone. There is enough heat and geological activity to start life, but a snowball earth is looming and threatens to freeze it all. There is some spring ...
7
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3answers
411 views

Will my worlds not be salty enough to support animal life?

I read on the cooking.stackexchange site that all natural salt on Earth was created by seas and oceans, starting with primordial oceans four billion years ago. This got me thinking about my fictional ...
7
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3answers
169 views

How many human inhabitants could Earth host in a far future? [closed]

Assuming a technologically advanced civilization that has grown sustainably from the resources of its own planet (and maybe "a few" additional resources from its own solar system), what would be the ...
7
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1answer
76 views

Could a Greater Number and Diversity of Marine Plant Species be Possible?

As landlubbers, we often let ourselves think that if salty seawater is undrinkable for us, it could be even worse for plants. However, certain types of angiosperms have found ways to not only thrive ...
7
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1answer
145 views

The Geography and Ecology of a Supervolcanic Planet

What would be the geographical and ecological implications for an Earth-like planet that experienced intense volcanic and supervolcanic activity on a scale that, while decreasing over time, was far ...
7
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2answers
147 views

Avian adaptation to microgravity and low gravity environments

I like to hear the sound of birds when I travel amongst my orbital and planetary habitats scattered around the outer system. Most of these settlements are very densely populated - what you might ...
7
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1answer
94 views

How much does the ecosphere weigh?

So, we've gone off to another star system and decided to build a Dyson bubble--a continuous statite, supported by radiation pressure, surrounding a star--with a surface gravity of 1g to live on. Now, ...
6
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1answer
183 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 ...
6
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1answer
280 views

Eating one whale every three thousand days?

My current ongoing project, about which I've asked many questions, is about a world in which evolutionarily plausible legendary and folkloric creatures roam the Earth. One such creature is the sea ...
6
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6answers
774 views

Producing oxygen without plants

Obviously, current oxygen levels should last us years, so we are talking about a long-term solution. Also, in this hypothetical scenario, plants have stopped releasing oxygen but haven't stop ...
6
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4answers
220 views

The westbird. Could this exist?

Situation: A terrestrial environment on a megaworld (artificial construct). I'm thinking of how invasive species tend to dominate the ecosystems they move into--how about the ultimate invasive ...
6
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2answers
258 views

A 40km alien saucer is floating 1km above central Africa for a long time. What are the effects on the rainforest below?

Earlier this year, a second alien saucer came to Earth and stopped 1 kilometer above the central African nation of Wakanda. The Wakandans are fine with this and refuse to let anyone investigate or do ...
6
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1answer
74 views

The Microecology of Living Quarters

A Question on the Balance of Ecosystems on the Microbial Scale Say that we had some living quarters on an Earth-like planet, within a moderately-sized base. The inhabitants of this base can freely ...
6
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1answer
118 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 ...
6
votes
1answer
167 views

What tree type grows into the most dense forests?

"Tree" is (apparently) not a very well defined term as far as scientific classifications are concerned, so I'll put my own restrictions on it for this question: Typical healthy adult specimens must ...
6
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2answers
253 views

How could this flora/fauna symbiosis work?

I'm building an alien world for an artistic project. The world circles an m-dwarf star, and so the flora have evolved to photosynthesize longer wavelengths of light than on Earth, primarily in the ...
6
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2answers
217 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 ...
6
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2answers
111 views

What conditions are necessary to support lightless radiotrophic ecosystems?

There are few examples of radiotrophic ecosystems on Earth. Of those discovered, the radiotrophs are limited to single-celled organisms and unique mutant fungi. The reason seems to be due to a lack ...
6
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1answer
185 views

Slowing or Averting Global Warming With the Help of Elemental Powers: Part 1 (Fire)

Other posts from this thread will be posted here as these are updated: Info Part 1, (Fire) focuses on what the fire elementals can do. There are 200 such beings that exist (and have existed for a ...
6
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2answers
189 views

Evolving a Militarized Mechanical Ecosystem

How could a civilization create a dangerous autonomous mechanical ecosystem that will not be overly dangerous to its creators? Militaries are expensive; military research doubly so. So what's a small ...
6
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2answers
179 views

Solar insolation/flux's effect on biome diversity/richness on an alien world

The Questions I'm trying to answer three main questions: Does a three-axis biome chart make sense for my world? How productive/life-rich should a biome be given a specific level of solar flux (...
5
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5answers
409 views

What would happen if the minds of predators and prey suddenly swapped? [closed]

Just a silly idea for some sort of potentially major event, but what would happen if say the mind of cat entered the body of a mouse and vice versa, for every animal on Earth? Let's also assume that ...
5
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4answers
226 views

Why would smaller be better for anteaters?

In the world of this question, ants and especially termites are the dominant herbivores by mass. There are no large grazing mammals competing with the bugs for the siliceous grasses and thorny trees ...
5
votes
5answers
325 views

What evolved weapons could be used against graphene skin?

Life had been good for a certain class of tetrapods. They evolved two layers graphene in a specialized collagen creating a relatively thin yet seemingly impenetrable hide. All of their natural ...
5
votes
2answers
580 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 "...