Thursday, October 8, 2015

How it all started

October 1, 2015

"Building an Ecosystem in a Bottle"

Can you build an ecosystem that is self-sustaining? That is the question we are exploring to answer. As a group, we are exploring some of the relationships that living organisms have with each other and with their environment. We call a community of organisms living and using their environment an ecosystem, and ecosystems work by some basic rules. Today we will build our ecosystem in hopes that we have plant growth, keep our living organisms alive, and create a self-sustained environment!

What we need:
  • 1 two-liter clear bottle
  • Organic soil
  • Bean seeds 
  • Daphnia (crustaceans) 
  • Elodea 
  • Snail(s) 
  • Gravel
  • Clear packing tape 
  • 100% Natural Spring water 
  • Cotton String
Steps we took to build our Ecosystem:
  1. Rinse out the bottle and caps well. Cut the bottles at shoulder. Save the top portion of the 2L bottle including the cap. Be very careful cutting the bottles! 
  2. Add 1 Dixie cup of gravel to the bottom of the bottle.
  3. Add spring water to the 2L bottle about halfway. DO NOT USE TAP WATER! The water must be below the inverted lid of the other bottle. 
  4. Measure the length  of the elodea plant in cm. Plant the rotal plant in the gravel or allow the plant to float. Record the length of the plant and overall health. Make sure the entire plan is submerged in the water. 
  5. Place snail(s) in the water. Count and record how many are added. 
  6. Use a hammer and nails to make a hole in the top of the cap to provide drainage. Screw the bottle cap onto the top of the bottle. Run a cotton string through the cap. The string connects the aquatic and terrestrial sections of the ecosystem by hanging into water. 
  7. Make sure the lid of the terrestrial section does not touch the water in the aquatic section. Only the string in between connects the two sections. 
  8. Fill the inverted bottle top 1/2 to 3/4 full with potting soil. 
  9. Plant 2-3 bean seeds in the soil (or other types of seeds). Water your seeds a little. Record how many and what type of seed you planted. 
Our Ecosystem:

Water: 605 ml
Elodea: 17 cm 
Number of snails: 3
Number of Daphnia (crustaceans): 5 
String: 3 pieces of string, each 12 inches long 
Amount of soil: 3 1/2 cups 
Number of seeds total: 10
Beans: 5
Johnny Jump ups: 2
Zinnia: 2
Garden-bean golden wax improved: 1 

This is a picture of our ecosystem as a whole with aquatic plant and animal
life on the bottom and soil with beans and flowers on the top. Contains:
soil, 5 beans, 2 Johnny Jump-Ups, 2 Zinnia, and 1 garden golden waxed improved bean. 

Here you can see the bottom half of our ecosystem. It contains
605 ml of water, string to allow water to get from the bottom half
of our ecosystem to the soil on the top half, 5 Daphnia, 3 snails,
and 17cm long Rotala (the green plant you can see). 
Here is the beginning life of our top half of the ecosystem. The bean and flowers have
been planted and we expect to see them grow! The soil is semi-moist as we poured water in
the soil to help with our plant growth. We also expect to see condensation occur in the top half of our

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