TThe Bio Dude | Your #1 shop for all things reptile! | Spend $150 get $8.95 Flat Rate Shipping | Current order processing time: 3 business days | NOTICE: We currently cannot ship live plants to California

The Carbon Cycle and Bioactive Terraria

The Carbon Cycle and Bioactive Terraria
                                                     Carbon Cycle and Bioactive Terraria
Written by: Joshua Halter and Reece Buck
            Every form of life on the planet Earth is comprised of some configuration of carbon atoms. Carbon is the essential building block for all life forms and is the most abundant element on Earth. Carbon is so vital to our existence that any fluctuation in concentration transmogrifies the atmospheric temperature as well as defines life down to the biological and physiological level. In this article we will explain the very complex carbon cycle and its importance in a Bio Dude bioactive terrarium and the impacts in has during the life of your terrarium.
          The carbon cycle is both a geological and biological process. Geological, which takes millions of years to complete, while biological occurs more quickly. On a biological level of the carbon cycle, this occurs during the time of an organism’s lifespan.  The key players in the biological carbon cycle are flora and to some extent fauna. The Flora of our planet are the oxygen scrubbers that intake the carbon dioxide in the atmosphere and transform oxygen for the Fauna to help them maintain basic homeostasis. The atmospheric carbon dioxide is broken down into oxygen molecules and carbon molecules. In the terrarium the carbon is sequestered in the root systems and deposited into the surrounding soil in nutrient pools. The other component of the biological process deals with decomposition of total biomass. Biomass is the measurement of a biological entity’s total mass. Great examples of biomass are your essential biodegradeables utilized in your Bio Dude terrariums. As flora or fauna decay, it is being broken down by the microscopic entities of the decomposition process. The bioavailable carbon is disposed of in the soil. Microorganisms within the soil, such as mycorrhizal, cleave to the root systems of flora and allow them to process the carbon expelled from flora, but also sequester carbon close to the roots. Carbon is a basic building block for many chemical and molecular bonds needed for all functions of both flora and fauna. In the terrarium this cycle is renewed every time an individual expires, or when the soil releases some of its cached carbon. When this cached carbon is released more carbon dioxide raises atmospheric temperatures. While this happens in the terrarium, excess carbon will not raise the temperature of the terrarium significantly or enough to impact your overall heating requirements of your pet.
                    In a bioactive setup the same cycle occurs on a smaller scale. Every aspect of a Bio Dude bioactive enclosure contains carbon in some form. The soil used contains bound up carbon molecules, the plants ascertain carbon from the atmosphere; in conjunction with the Bio Dude Grow&Glow LED to promote photosynthesis, creating photosynthetic carbon that is excreted into the soil. If you have an omnivorous reptile then a portion of that photosynthetic carbon is consumed and metabolized within the animal. This carbon is then used in DNA synthesis or for other molecular synthesizing processes. Another aspect of the cycle in the terrarium is the never-ending respiration of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere from the enclosure of your reptile or amphibian. This respiration process is what fuels the carbon absorption of the flora present. Utilizing the Bio Dude’s  BioShot, and to some extent the clean up crews such as Earwigs, Springtails, Isopods can  help sequester loose carbon within the soil matrix by cleaving it to the root systems. That is solely the job of the Mycorrhizal and mycelium colonies that establish within your biome. The clean up crews are the garbagemen which aid in breaking down waste matter into base elements of: Carbon, Nitrogen, and Phosphorous along with smaller trace elements that are readily utilized by your plants and Bio Dude substrate.
                 If one is using a non-bioactive enclosure there are elements of carbon present. However, they are more than likely inorganic materials. Part of the carbon cycle will still occur in a non-bioactive setup, but without all the components, carbon is wasted. Without plants and soil microbes the soil is unable to cache excess carbon, as a result it is just released back into the atmosphere as carbon dioxide, which is not utilized by your plants or soil on a large enough level for success. Another drawback is that your omnivorous reptiles is when they are  fed veggies that has been plucked from the ground, shipped and placed inside an artificially lit warehouse. The energy available within these specimens is far less than flora that is self-maintaining within the biome. Less energy available means the energy expounded to acquire nutrients is completely lost and not completely replenished. Synthetic substrates such as repticarpet are indeed carbon-based, but they are also created of a plastic polymer. Polymers are tougher and take more energy to breakdown into the base components. Most microbes are unable to break down plastics due to their impervious molecular structure bonds. This is yet another reason why  plastic pollution in our forests and beaches has become such a huge issue.
                   The carbon cycle is the most essential biological process necessary for all life on Earth. Without this cycle, we could not function and life would not exist without the carbon cycle, most creatures existing on planet earth would rely on methane or sulfur, which as we know can be very toxic in larger doses and can make habitats inhospitable. It is our duty as harbingers of good husbandry to recreate the natural world as best as possible and this includes natural biological and chemical processes. This is the beauty of bioactivity, that these natural cycles will replicate themselves on a smaller scale within our created biomes. The carbon cycle, while complex is vital to all living organism. As reptile and amphibian keepers it is our responsibility to provide the best care, rather than the basic care using research driven practices and techniques for some of the most unique and diverse animals on the planet.
Gougoulias, C., Clark, J. M., & Shaw, L. J. (2014). The role of soil microbes in the global carbon cycle: tracking the below-ground microbial processing of plant-derived carbon for manipulating carbon dynamics in agricultural systems. Journal of the science of food and agriculture, 94(12), 2362-71.


Previous Post Next Post

  • Josh Halter


Access Denied

What a shame ----  you do not have permission to view this page : D