What happens in a 12-year-old terrarium? To answer that question, let’s take a look at the YouTube video from Jartopia. This terrarium was created over a dozen years ago and has been home to a variety of organisms ever since. Inside, you’ll find everything from plants to isopods – all of which have persisted within the closed ecosystem for generations.
Inside the terrarium, there is a variety of organisms that have persisted within the closed ecosystem for generations. Originally, the terrarium was home to a lot more plant and isopod species; however, as time passed, biodiversity decreased as the new ecosystem balanced out. Currently, the ecosystem is experiencing cycles, with the plant population increasing when the isopod population grazes on the plants. This, in turn, decreases the plant population and allows the isopods to flourish once again.
Science in a bottle
I find this terrarium fascinating because it’s almost as if there are two separate worlds within the same glass demijohn. The algae underground create a unique habitat that couldn’t possibly exist in nature due to the fact that the glass allows light to reach the soil underground. This, in turn, allows algae, moss, and fungi to flourish alongside any of the smaller invertebrates that live among them.
Adult isopods seem to inhabit the surface and rarely venture below ground. It’s believed that this is due to the hardness of the clay and rock substrate. The babies, however, do seem to venture underground—possibly using tunnels left behind by earthworms many years ago.
Don’t want to wait 12 years yourself? Watch it here
It’s fascinating to think about how an ecosystem can change and adapt over time – and all within the confines of a single terrarium. Who knows what the future holds for this little ecosystem? We’ll just have to wait and see. For now, you’re invited to watch the video below by Jartopia and follow their channel if you find this kind of footage interesting.
YouTube: 12-Year-Old Terrarium – Life inside a closed jar, over a decade in isolation
Photo credit: The feature image is symbolic and was taken by Salparadis.