Questions tagged [ecology]

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

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How would plant life be affected by rapid fluctuations in temperature?

In my fantasy world I'm constructing, there is not a traditional day and night. Rather, magical lights cross the sky. As soon as one sets, another rises. There are three of these lights, each ...
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4 votes
1 answer
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What is the best non open-air farming method for a country in an environmentally degraded planet?

The surface and skies of Earth have been heavily polluted through various issues. Climate change, war, biological/chemical warfare, nuclear weapons etc. The sky is blanketed in a permanent semi opaque ...
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3 answers
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Can we use consistent ashfall to help reclaim or create topsoil?

Earth has reached a point of significant desertification due to issues such as climate change, deforestation, pollution, etc. Because of this there's significant topsoil loss across the planet. What's ...
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3 votes
2 answers
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If a planet wide mist/thick cloud layer covered the planet that let little sunlight through, what does large scale farming look like?

Imagine a thick layer of clouds, mist, ash etc of sorts that blankets the higher atmospheres of a planet such that nights are nearly pitch black and daylight is range of greyish (think of a heavily ...
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5 votes
4 answers
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Can my city be full of giant rats?

The rodents of unusual size in question are not implausibly large from a biological standpoint, being roughly the same weight as an American Beaver, but much more adapted for land living and with an ...
19 votes
9 answers
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Could a pine forest with year-round snowfall survive?

I am trying to design an alien forest ecosystem. The forest looks like this (from Dreamstime.com): The relevant difference between the real-life Swedish forest pictured and mine is that my world ...
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7 votes
2 answers
578 views

How would prey animals adapt to large aerial predators?

Let's say the world's natural history evolved along much the same lines, but the modern species of large herbivores we're familiar with - ie cattle, deer, elephants, antelopes, etc - had to deal with ...
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6 votes
3 answers
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Would paper pulp or resin be preferable to build giant beehives?

I have a hive-based, man-sized creature based on a honeybee. It still builds combs and produces/consumes honey, but (I think) honey wax isn’t strong enough to support the massive increase in hive size,...
1 vote
2 answers
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Which large marine animals could live in an ocean 60 m deep? [closed]

The setting I'm currently working on, has a sea that is large in area, but even the deep ocean, far from land, is only sixty meters deep. (It's a Banks Orbital, but I don't think that matters in and ...
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3 answers
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The variety of colour in a world under a red dwarf [closed]

I'm designing a world orbiting a red dwarf. Now, I want the life on my planet to have a rich variety of color just like life on earth does. The problem is that I don't know if that's feasible. From ...
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8 answers
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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 ...
20 votes
9 answers
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What's a reasonable environmental disaster that could be caused by a probe from Earth entering Europa's ocean?

I'm working on a story involving life on Europa (or at least a place just like it) being upturned dramatically by contact from a probe sent from Earth. Found this community while researching, and have ...
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How could creatures in a zero-G but otherwise Earthlike environment move around?

Humanity has just discovered a massive, derelict space ark containing its own ecosystem. Its artificial gravity has long since failed, and it's been drifting undisturbed for millennia. Assume that: ...
3 votes
4 answers
471 views

Guam - Revenge of the Birds [closed]

To quickly recap how Guam became eerily devoid of chirping sounds, it is supposed that an invasive species of snake hitched its way to the island on a cargo ship and began multiplying and exploiting ...
1 vote
1 answer
124 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**...
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16 votes
16 answers
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If a creature's best food source was 4,000 feet above it, and only rarely fell from that height, how would it evolve to eat that food?

Setting No sunlight reaches the area where these creatures live, but the food it eats has fairly easy access to sunlight. The ground below the creatures is nutrient-rich soil, and is heated by ...
22 votes
11 answers
5k views

Why would a creature both have carnivore teeth and side-facing eyes?

So, after a long unplanned hiatus, I have started designing alien creatures again, and one image that eve before that hiatus I could not get out of my head is that of a creature which has both the ...
9 votes
6 answers
1k views

Energy in a food web of robots

I'm working on a planet with robotic life, until now I think I know how they work, the only problem is that, unless I want to make all lifeforms autotrophic, I have no idea how the energy might move ...
4 votes
1 answer
135 views

What niche would werewolf looking creatures have in an environment? [closed]

By werewolf, I'm not talking about normal humans who can transform into big beasts and transform others to be like them. I'm just purely talking about could the werewolf form be its own wild animal? ...
2 votes
1 answer
325 views

Could a quantum computer be integrated into a biological medium?

I'm working on an idea for an AI in a short story and have been circling around the idea of a biologically-integrated quantum computer — think, diamond qubits suspended in a biological medium (goop?) ...
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7 answers
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Is there a scavenger or carrion feeder (Or anything associated with death) that's actually BAD for the environment?

I'm designing a dualistic pair of factions of post-apocalyptic scrappers with views based on opposing concepts of scavenging; renewal, re-use, and removal of hazards versus thievery, opportunism, and ...
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1 vote
1 answer
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If the USA was hit by a bombardment of nuclear warheads, what would the landscape look like?

In my world, technology that could alter a living creature's biology (later called Lazarus Tech) became incredibly popular in many places, until the overuse of the technology cause countless millions ...
3 votes
2 answers
126 views

How would a planet having a high concentration of metals like an asteroid affect it's ecosystems?

I am working on a Sci-Fi/ Fantasy world called Atterra which is an very alternate version of earth that has been artificially injected with metals and materials from the asteroid belt. Long story ...
3 votes
3 answers
408 views

How do we tell a biosphere has been tampered with? [closed]

How could one distinguish a naturally evolved biosphere from one which has been manipulated in a subtle manner? Think slight genetic tweaks, targeted extinction events and so on. The process might ...
4 votes
5 answers
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Why are there so many mosquitoes in the Arctic?

TL-DR: How to create a world with ecology similar to ours, that doesn't have such abominable plagues of mosquitoes in its Arctic summer? It is tempting to think of mosquitoes as a pest of the tropics, ...
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3 votes
3 answers
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How would life develop/adapt in an Earth-like planet but with less sunlight?

Here's the setting: Advanced human civilizations of an ancient time destroyed the ozone layer of the planet. They managed to create an self-sustaining artificial layer which would function exactly as ...
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3 votes
1 answer
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Can I Passively redirecting air currents with forest gardening?

A group of evil farmers have developed a technique for manipulation of the weather on a large scale whereby the land is altered to effect the temperature of the air above and to act as a trap for ...
3 votes
2 answers
96 views

Could stromatolite formation be significantly speeded up?

Stromatolites form at an incredibly slow rate of around 0.5mm a year but I was wondering if more favourable conditions could speed this up? These stromatolites will exist on an earth-like alien planet....
8 votes
2 answers
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How far across the sea can mosquitoes disperse?

One of the more interesting facts about the biogeography of Hawaii is that mosquitoes were not always present; they only arrived in the early nineteenth century, as stowaways aboard oceangoing ships. ...
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3 answers
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Humanity is gone. What's the timeline of vermin infestation in an abandoned wholesale supermarket club?

Due to an accident during a transdimensional handwavium experiment, every sentient being on Earth was whisked away into another dimension. Humans are gone in a fiat. Somewhere, during temperate summer,...
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17 answers
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How can plants reliably intentionally poison those that eat their fruit?

For sake of metaphor, I want to include a plant that bears fruit that is poisonous, with the intent that when an animal eats it, it will walk away and die within a few hours, such that their corpse ...
6 votes
2 answers
533 views

How does ocean productivity vary with depth?

I'm trying to figure out the optimal sea depth on an artificial world (a Banks Orbital as it happens, though I think this would also be an important parameter for many other kinds of megastructure). ...
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20 votes
5 answers
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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 ...
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2 votes
4 answers
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How do Eagle-Men hunt?

The eagle-men are a race of aquiline creatures found in the wilderness. They are flightless and wingless creatures about 4ft in height, with legs like an eagle, a body partway between humanoid and ...
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4 votes
3 answers
275 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 ...
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3 votes
4 answers
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Survival on a dark hycean world

As a follow up to my previous question: Surviving a dark hycean world I ask this: how could life adapt to a tidally locked ocean world with thick atmosphere and perpetual storms? That's the definition ...
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8 votes
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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 ...
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3 votes
1 answer
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Is this a hycean world?

In the speculative astrobiology book Teeming universe by Christian Cline, there's a planet called Hurcelion. It's described as a hybrid of rocky and gas giant planets. Most of the life floats or flies ...
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6 votes
3 answers
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At what point does a human civilization on a dead planet require petroleum?

I’ve gone and designed an entire earth-like planet where life had never evolved. Oil can be reached if needed—the purpose of this question is to find how far they can go and avoid it. (Oil is ...
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Ecologically Correct Hugag [closed]

The hugag is a fearsome critter with an inefficient-seeming anatomy: They are quadrupedal mammals, similar to ungulates. However, their limbs are jointless, with a single long segment that connects ...
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4 votes
3 answers
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Ecologically Correct Troglodyte

The troglodyte is a strange humanoid creature found in histories from Rome and Ancient Greece They live in caves (as the name implies), and do not use much technology. They do have a language, which ...
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17 votes
5 answers
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Ecological niche of a horse sized wolf

In many fantasy settings, soldiers (generally orcs) ride on wolves the size of horses, plundering and raiding to their hearts' content. The only issue I see with this image (aside from using a ...
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7 votes
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Agriculture on a 15th century era Tidally locked Planet

What would humanity's most reliable method for food look like on a planet where the sun never sets, great winds raged across the land, and large-scale storms were commonplace? I'm curious if large-...
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4 votes
5 answers
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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 ...
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Could an ecosphere realistically survive in space long enough to plant life on a new celestial body

I’m not taking about the ecospheres by the brand “ecosphere”, but the type you see on the channel life in jars. These type of ecospheres are essentially a sealed clear container with water, dirt, ...
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Why would a small climbing herbivore have tusks?

The muscaliet is a small arboreal mammal, similar in some ways to the wolpertinger. It is found in places like South Asia It has a hare-like body, with the feet and legs more like a squirrel. The tail ...
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5 votes
2 answers
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Ecologically Correct Wolpertinger

The wolpertinger is a hybrid animal similar to a jackalope, that is found in places like southern Germany It resembles a squirrel overall. The head is like a hare, with a pair of antlers and fangs/...
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4 votes
1 answer
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Would These Three Actions Allow the Ecoregions to Regrow?

This scenario begins with multitudes of vanishings from around the world, at the same time. All of the domesticated animals (dog, goat, pig, sheep, European cattle, zebu, cat, chicken, Guinea pig, ...
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3 votes
4 answers
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How much biological overlap would there be between a mirror life ecosystem and an Earthly ecosystem?

Background: Chiral molecules or ions are particles which cannot be made congruent to one another via flipping one or rotating one. For example, the same property applies to your hands, assuming that ...
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3 votes
2 answers
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Ecologically Correct Onocentaur

The onocentaur is a mythological creature that is, contrary to its name, not truly a centaur, but instead has become a quadruped They have a humanoid upper body, with arms and hands, and a donkey-...
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