Questions tagged [ecology]

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

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All conditions being ideal (gravity, ecosystem, etc), what are the physical limits of tree growth on earth? [duplicate]

I ask the question, not as a subjective "well, Dale, what do ya reckon?" but as a perfectly factual question about tree growth here on earth provided a finite set of physical (natural, real) ...
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What types of lifeforms might this cold world have?

The average temperature on this world surface is −55 degrees Celsius. 80% of the surface of this world is covered by liquid ammonia oceans. This planet has a surface gravity of 0.75 g. The ...
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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 ...
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Could an isolated cutoff valley sustain a diversity of animals alongside humans?

My world has an isolated valley between high mountains like the Himalayas that is practically cut off from the world by high elevation mountains and steep cliffs. The valley is about five miles in ...
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3answers
279 views

Metropolitan Mollusks and Seagrass Serengetis

Knowledge has come to me recently that mussels can suck up pollutants, making them crucial cleanup crews in the New York filth. This knowledge is the inspiration for this alternate scenario, in which ...
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6answers
359 views

Can the Iceworld civilization feed itself?

I have a world which is (nearly) a single-biome planet; it is mostly covered in shallow, ice-choked seas. There are few continents, but many archipelagos. Think northern Canada or Alaska as this ...
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4answers
164 views

Hypothetically, should cultural/genetic Homogeneity in Aliens be considered the Exception, or the Rule?

Humans all belong to a Single Species, localized on a single small-ish planet... Yet we are incredibly diverse in both Culture and Individual Appearance/Adaptation to our environment. This also seems ...
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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 ...
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279 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 ...
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Limitations of the interactions of fact and opinion thoughtforms in the Aethernet

The Setting Long story short, we cracked the code of the universe and then reprogrammed it to give ourselves admin privileges. But then, we realized that having top-level access is boring. There is ...
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Building a Realistic Food Web

So far, I've begun developing a food web for a swampy biome. Currently, the result of this free building is shown in the mess below (built = orange, aquatic = blue, producer = green, not built yet = ...
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Can a continental scale creature develop it's own ecosystem? How?

I am designing a monster that is as large as a continent. It flies across the planet very slowly and has basically a snake form. Life cannot exist on the planet's surface so the animals are drawn to ...
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Could you grow plants from nothing (or very little) using hydoponics?

If you arrive at a distant planet you mean to colonise, without enough food for the long term - just maybe a couple of plants and a bunch of seeds and enough food in storage to keep you going for the ...
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289 views

Life in the Northern Hemisphere if Beringia Never Drowned

When one hears the name "Beringia", we most often think the land bridge that formed as a result of a drop in sea levels during the Pleistocene, resulting in a connection between Alaska and Russia. But ...
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Defensive adaptations for lagomorphs

We all know how rabbits and hares escape ending up being a meal to a fox or a hawk, with long ears to hear danger coming, burrowing, long and powerful hind legs for speed and also living a social life ...
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Making a Rainforest

Say you have a region that is not a rainforest, but you want it to be. What would you need to do to engineer a rainforest? My current best guess for what all you'd need is: relatively constant ...
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340 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 ...
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1answer
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Can Aspen forests have other species of tree present?

In a world dominated by steppe, the warmest regions give way into parklands dominated by stands of Aspen. My research suggests that Aspen groves may tend to exclude other species of tree, but I am ...
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262 views

Could the World's Rainshadows Have Spiny Forests?

There is no other way around it--Madagascar is an evolutionary uniquety. 80% of the island's species live nowhere else on Earth. Among this uniqueness is a habitat that seems to come out of science ...
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1answer
131 views

How quickly would an ecocircle propogate over an unlimited flat world?

Suppose a universe with similar physical laws to ours, with the major exception of gravity not existing as we know it, with an analogous force (hereafter called gravity for simplicity) acting as a ...
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What creature is vital to an ecosystem, that when wiped out could cause drastic and devastating ecological effects? [closed]

So a little bit of background. I am writing a fantasy novel (non-traditional setting), though the ecology is similar to our world so I'm simplifying to just discussing our world for ease of answering. ...
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Would it be possible for a population of snakes to survive by eating nothing but fruit?

I was thinking of a scenario in which a population of snakes gets stranded on an island in which they are literally the only animals. This hypothetical island does not even have insects for the ...
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Could a new species wipe out the rest of an established ecosystem?

I'm not asking about an exotic species in the modern world we know all too well the havoc that can be caused by the introduction of an alien species into an existing ecosystem. I want to know if a ...
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How do semi-sapient yeti/ogres live in the wild?

Assume that a species of bigfoot-type animal/person exists. Most of this also applies to ogres or trolls, whatever big dumb giants your particular setting has. My world's specs: They range 7-10 feet ...
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Does or could a collection of regions like this exist on Earth?

I initially assumed my world was going to be pure fantasy, but the more I think about it, the more I consider having the story take place somewhere on Earth, either as alternate history or the far ...
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334 views

How would an ecosystem survive pitch-black winters of about 3000 years [closed]

I won't describe in much detail the geology and astronomy of the world I'm creating here, whose unnatural shape and so far unexplained non-Einsteinian large-scale mechanics to maintain it may not be ...
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252 views

How long would it take for animals, plants, and insects to die off during nuclear winter?

Not a total extinction, mind you. Just how long do you think it would take for the residents of a small town of survivors to notice? Obviously this varies from place to place and ecosystem to ...
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1answer
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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) ...
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Would multiple sapient species with similar diets cooperate or compete?

This is connected to a previous question, found here: Realism of a setting with several sapient anthropomorphic animal species Presume that due to outside interference with evolution, a planet has ...
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204 views

How will the first New Martians evolve?

Mars gets somewhat nice In about 1.6 billion years, the sun's habitable zone will have moved outward, increasing the carbon dioxide in Mars's atmosphere. According to Wikipedia, its surface ...
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159 views

What unique ecology could emerge on an alien world where half of organisms were Organic, and half were Silicon-based? [closed]

Imagine an alien world teeming with exotic organisms; verdant ecosystems and advanced megafauna. On this planet life emerged twice, billions of years ago. Present day, roughly half of plants and ...
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What Other Types of Broadleaves Would Grow in Subarctic Conditions?

As it turns out, conifers are not the only trees to grow in boreal forests, or taiga. At the southernmost ends, the evergreens are mixed with such deciduous trees as: Birch Alder Willow Poplar Maple ...
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How quickly would society be able to transform into utopia if everyone worked together? [closed]

How far into the future would my story have to be set in order for cities to change into an entirely eco-friendly and eco-intertwined utopia? A gas is released in every major city that is able to ...
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356 views

How to develop ecosystem in science based way? [closed]

I want to create artificial ecosystem. I don't want to do it in random way like "We have cats but lets name them kads. They live in forest... of mushrooms. And there is a river. I think it is enough....
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What would an industry do with a microbe on Titan? [closed]

The setting would be on Titan in the 2200s. Because the institute preventing intrusions on new worlds that have possible organisms has very little money, they scan Titan on the surface, they don't see ...
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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. ...
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A Raptorial Parrot

This scenario is based on the kea, the world's only alpine parrot. Even though it eats plants like other parrots, it also eats meat, and therefore could be New Zealand's answer to the smaller diurnal ...
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1answer
125 views

The World's a Jungle Again. How Many Species Would Crowd the Continents? [closed]

In accommodation to my last question, we are now transferring from meteorology to ecology. Today, tropical rainforests take up only 3% of the world's surface, yet they take up half of the plant and ...
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3answers
952 views

How to construct a consistent ecology in an rpg fantasy world with monsters [closed]

Many RPG worlds seem to have a fauna and flora that is composed of the organisms found in our world with a more or less well thought out set of monsters added on. I was wondering how to design a ...
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2answers
223 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 ...
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1answer
251 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 ...
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1answer
266 views

What environment would support an electric alien species?

I was thinking, and I came up with an alien race, which enthralled me. I was just wondering if these creatures would plausibly evolve this way. (Info dump time These aliens are humanoid. While they ...
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0answers
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How much damage would the industrial extraction of oil do to an uninhabited jungle island? [closed]

Note: I have done considerable research on this topic and have not yet found an answer that fits the specific conditions of my question. Since my question has unique conditions, (for example: The oil ...
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0answers
71 views

How would a nitrogen-based-photosynthetic microorganism affect Earth and its inhabitants? [closed]

Let us assume that mankind genetically-engineered a microorganism which can photosynthesize using the following chemical reaction: 2N2 + 6H2O -> 4NH3 + 3O2. Then, this microorganism is released ...
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3answers
258 views

How would life be impacted if nothing left behind a corpse upon death?

Let's say that, since the dawn of time, any time an organism has died, it has dissipated upon death. With no decaying matter to fertilize or produce future plants/animals, would life have adapted? ...
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7answers
683 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 ...
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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 ...
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2answers
141 views

How threatening is instant human extinction to life on earth? [closed]

All humans magically drop dead this very instant. How badly will this affect other lifeforms on the Earth? Ideas: Will nuclear plants leak radiation since there is no one left to man them? Will ...
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2answers
102 views

What are some of the global impacts of technologically converting desert biomes into grasslands? [closed]

As per the Koppen climate model, for the purposes of this question deserts are dry, non-polar climates. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Desert_climate At a hypothetical time in near future, the human ...
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1answer
116 views

What are the best predators to spark intelligence in these aliens? [closed]

I want my aliens to have some very interesting adaptations, but with these adaptations comes the question "why do they even need intelligence in the first place?". My solution to this is predators. It ...