I've always thought that if ever I got hold of some land again for home & plant ecosystem development, I'd choose a blank canvas one!
| images and content © by Shuwen Lisa Wu|
http://www.shuwenwu.com - Borrego Badlands - San Diego County
|Credit: Eye of Science/SPL)|
A tardigrade (Macrobiotus sapiens)
1) First things first: Tardigrades are uncannily cute
My comment, 'Yes they are' now lets move on. You can read the further details from the link above.
2) Tardigrades can transform into tuns — allowing them to survive just about anywhere
Definitely an interesting section. Found absolutely everywhere through the Earth in every ecosystem. Tough buggers to kill, but that's a good thing as they are important to our planet's health. They have been burned, frozen, drowned, starved, subjected to lack of water and even nuked in outspace and they still survived.
|animation - wallippo.com|
Yes, tough buggers to Nuke even in Outerspace
#3) Tardigrades are often the first to pioneer new ecosystems
"Byron Adams, a Brigham Young University biologist, explains that tardigrades often are the first to colonize new, harsh environments. They act as the founding links in food chains."
An example: "When a volcano erupts, and molten lava pours over everything in the ecosystem, everything in that ecosystem is dead," he writes in an email. "Tardigrades are among the very first multicellular animals to colonize. The tardigrades feed on the microbes that live in this environment. The tardigrades, in turn, accumulate the essential elements for life — such as nitrogen, carbon, and phosphorus -- that then allowplants and other life forms to move in."And that's always fascinated me. How does life moved back into areas which have been totally obliterated ? I think it's safe to say that after a massive volcanic eruption, pretty much all life including microbes are toast. And yet life moves back in stages. But which comes first ? The last thing I ever thought of were Tadigrades or Water Bears. Yet from the VOX article's description they can withstand almost everything. Even a sanitized landscape created by volcanoes.
|image - expedia.com|
Hawaii Volcanoes National Park
"Adams has conducted fieldwork in Antarctica, studying how melting permafrost will impact the microscopic ecosystem there. Because tardigrades are ubiquitous, they're likely to play a role in how the Antarctic continent changes with a warming climate."
"They set the stage for other organisms," Adams tells me on a static-filled phone call from Antarctica. "They created the niches in which other more complex organisms . . "Yes they sure do set the stage for other life forms to move in. Even harsh desert climates like the one below in northern Sonora Mexico and Southwestern Arizona east of Yuma. Funny, I'm now picturing these guys laying dormant within the desert's biological soil crusts, just waiting for the right moment to do their job. But biological soil crusts are another one of those ecosystems which get no respect.
|(Foto por Leonora Torres)|
El Pinacate Biosphere Reserve - Sonora, Mexico
|image - greenme.it|
What's left of Krakatoa Volcano whoch blew it's top in 1883
4) Tardigrades may be "stealing" survival secrets from other bacteriaInteresting quote here from the article in Vox. This goes a long way in explaining how these creatures engineer themselves to adapt into any environmental circumstances. This is hardly dumb luck based on copying errors, but rather brilliant programming:
"One of the most tantalizing possibilities is that tardigrades may take DNA from bacteria and other organisms — perhaps even acquiring new abilities in the process."
"When tardigrades go into tun mode, Bartels explains, a bit of their DNA gets damaged. When they wake up, that DNA is stitched back together. What biologists are now investigating is whether foreign DNA from bacteria or other organisms can hitch along as the tardigrade DNA gets repaired."
"If so, this may explain how tardigrades developed their remarkable survival skills —they essentially steal them from bacteria."Again, this stuff is fascinating. (epigenetics) Viewing Nature from a engineered biological perspective makes it far easier the replicate as opposed to dumb luck and happenstance. Much of the present day technological innovation and land management practices have been based on grossly erroneous dogmatic beliefs such as "Survival of the Fittest." If this were untrue, our planet would not look the way it does presently. Science now knows (possibly too late) that various components (plants, animals, birds, fish, microbes, etc) are in reality mutualistic in survival cooperation with each other. Man's inhumanity to fellow man centuries prior to this discipline called "Science" actually coloured how the natural world was viewed 100+ years ago. I really don't think most people understand how degenerative flawed human thinking and conduct was when creating the institution of Science and Academia. Over a century of this so-called enlightenment and look where our planet is today. Can you imagine the different turn out of events if real biomimicry was undertaken back before the industrial revolution ?
4) Just about anyone can discover new tardigrade species
(See: Biological Soil Crusts: What Are They and Why Should I Care ?)
Carleton College has a handy field guide to help greenhorns find tardigrades. Just six easy steps!
1. Collect a clump of moss or lichen (dry or wet) and place in a shallow dish, such as a Petri dish.
2. Soak in water (preferably rainwater or distilled water) for 3-24 hours.
3. Remove and discard excess water from the dish.
4. Shake or squeeze the moss/lichen clumps over another transparent dish to collect trapped water.
5. Starting on a low objective lens, examine the water using a stereo microscope.
6. Use a micropipette to transfer tardigrades to a slide, which can be observed with a higher power under a compound microscope.
6) Did we mention they're oddly cute?
Yes you did. Now let's move along.
Some concluding reflection & various other Comments
|photo by Terry Weiner - Desert Protective Council|
Slot Canyons in Calcite Mine Area of the Desert Cahuilla Area
"Some people see a wasteland. I see potential . . "
"Timeless, we should talk off-line! TW"
Other member response:
"Timeless, that attitude worries me. Raw nature doesn't need 'improvement'. They ARE wildlife paradises for the organisms that live there."Once again, I did attempt to give a further explanation of what I actually meant. I assumed they thought I was talking human development. I wasn't. Unfortunately the explanation was ignored as there were no further comments. This is a common attitude and behaviour these days with many in the environmental movement who view being eccentric and easily offended as a badge of honor. I seriously don't get this behaviour. Being overly sensitive over every little thing said and taking offense over trivial viewponts are the new abnormal in our world now. This narrow minded tunnel vision reminds me of something Paul Newman's character, "Butch Cassidy," said to Robert Redford's character, "Sundance Kid." Remember this line & the scene where they were riding back to their hide out, "Hole in the Wall" ???:
|image - pinterest.com|
|image: Arizona Geologist, Wayne Ranne|
The photograph above was taken in India by Northern Arizona Geologist, Wayne Ranne. The trees are many species of Acacia and one species of native Mesquite tree from India. I even referenced this Sand Dune Acacia woodland in my post on my biomimicry concept of replacing non-native and invasive Tamarisk Windbreaks with real world right in front of you (bite you if it were a rattlesnake) natural barriers commonly found in the Imperial County deserts. The post was about (Mesquite Dune Project) in which physical soil and rock structures could be built and planted with countless varieties of southwestern native desert trees like Palo Verde, Desert Ironwood, Mesquite, pockets of California Fan Palms here and there. Can you imagine the mile after mile windbreak baarriers comprised of living native desert whole plant ecosystems not only helping keep nature intact, but acting as real world physical barriers which prevent agricultural field desiccation on a massive scale which would save water ? Not to mention these deeply rooted (meters deep) native desert trees would never need irrigation.
Update March 26, 2017 TED Ed
Can you imagine if I were to suggest rebuilding desert plant ecosystems on the backs of the eastern Imperial Valley, Algodone Dunes ? The Desert Protective Council would hold a public hanging in Glamis. Okay, just kidding! The only thing I could figure was that they were thinking I wanted to develop something like the Palm Springs type of construction setting below. Puleeeze, that would be the last thing I'd want or ever do. There's way too much of that now.
|Image - Conestoga Golf Club|
But the dream of having a landscape as a blank canvas is still so appealing to me. The idea of starting from scratch and building slowly along with just enough knowledge and information on various step by step biological mechanisms and just enough tweaking here and there to reasonably speed things along responsibly. I've never pointed this out before, but the theme of this blog, "Earth's Internet," is not exactly the internet address I chose. Notice what the address bar says up above here ? "Creating a New Earth" followed by blogspot.com. That is taken from a biblical text at Isaiah 65:17 which I always found refreshing:
"I’m creating new heavens and a new earth. All the earlier troubles, chaos, and pain are things of the past, to be forgotten."Most people who claim to be Christian do not even believe in the above text. From talking to many, they believe their creator of the Earth is going to destroy it in a firey apocalypse. Apparently their hope is some other deminsion of space and time called Heaven. I've never really had a desire to go to such a place. No offesnse. I've always loved the Earth and the natural things in it. The idea of living on such a wonderful planet [minus all the insaneness of human leadership and social unrrest at present], has always appealed to me far more. Now on an interesting nore, there are many other famous well known biblical texts which are not respected either by those who claim to believe in the Bible's content. Take another example from Isaiah 2:4. Seriously, how many of you reading here actually knew that this very well known text is on a monument wall outside the United Nations building under a very famous statue:
"Then they will beat their swords into iron plows and their spears into pruning tools. Nation will not take up sword against nation; they will no longer learn how to make war."
|Image - Lotus Edtions|
|Image - un.org|
So has anybody seen one single mighty nation take even one of their Aircraft Carriers and turn it into a Golf Course ??? Yeah, me neither. In 1982 I moved from the San Diego area to a high mountain valley called Anza which is just north of this Borrego Badlands area. I loved this rugged area of beauty. It use to be more beautiful. Not only from a standpoint of my research of historical first hand accounts written in journals 100s of years ago, but even in my own lifetime experience. Over time I've particularly watch entire whole plant ecosystems completely disappear from Borrego. I suppose the other appeal was the lack of other humans in such areas. Can you imagine what Juan Bautista de Anza and Fray Pedro Font would say if they could eyewitness the dramatic changes of today in contrast to the pristine wild landscape they both described back in 1775-76 ?
|image by Arno Gourdol (Dec 22, 2008)|
Borrego badlands from Font's Point
Yeah, I still want my blank Canvas. Tardigrades are clearly just another piece of the puzzle in accomplishing an earthwide rebuild. But I think I'll take my time in making changes ever so gradually. After all, that's what makes the idea and promise of living forever so appealing. I will admit one additional construct on my blank canvas. Remember the Faux Van Damme house in that Alfred Hitchcock film "North By Northwest" ? I'd somehow incorporate that into my landscaped setting. Seriously, I've always loved that house's design even though the place was never real and only part of a movie set. Maybe Frank Lloyd Wright would help me when he comes back ? *smile*
|Image - hookedonhouses.net|
Further reference reading on Tadigrades
Articles I've written on the area above called San Felipe Creek which has slowly crept towards balnds status
List of posts about the Spanish Expedition as authored by Juan Bautista de Anza & Fray Pedro Font
I'll ponder posting these. But for now there is plenty of material to read