Closed ecological system

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Closed ecological systems (CES) are ecosystems that do not rely on matter exchange with any part outside the system.

The term is most often used to describe small manmade ecosystems. Such systems are scientifically interesting and can potentially serve as a life support system during space flights, in space stations or space habitats.[1]

In a closed ecological system, any waste products produced by one species must be used by at least one other species. If the purpose is to maintain a life form, such as a mouse or a human, waste products such as carbon dioxide, feces and urine must eventually be converted into oxygen, food, and water.

A closed ecological system must contain at least one autotrophic organism. While both chemotrophic and phototrophic organisms are plausible, almost all closed ecological systems to date are based on a phototroph such as green algae.

Frieda Taub reviewed work from 1953 to 1974.[2]


Major (large-scale) closed ecological systems include Biosphere 2, MELiSSA, and the BIOS-1, BIOS-2, and BIOS-3 projects.[3]

An ecosphere is a glass enclosed, self-contained and self-sustaining closed ecosystem sold primarily as a gift or experiment. It can include tiny shrimp, algae, gravel, decorative shells, and gorgonia.[4]

Also bottle gardens can act as a closed ecological system.

In fiction

The 1993 novel This Other Eden by Ben Elton featured the development of "claustrospheres" which were closed ecological systems contained within a dome in which people could take refuge in the event of environmental collapse.

The critically panned 1996 comedy film Bio-Dome involved the protagonists becoming trapped in a closed ecological system being run as an experiment.

See also


  1. I. I. Gitelson; G. M. Lisovsky & R. D. MacElroy (2003). Manmade Closed Ecological Systems. Taylor & Francis. ISBN 0-415-29998-5.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  2. Frieda B. Taub (Nov 1974). "Closed Ecological Systems". Annual Review of Ecology and Systematics. 5: 139–160. doi:10.1146/<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  3. Salisbury FB; Gitelson JI; Lisovsky GM (Oct 1997). "Bios-3: Siberian experiments in bioregenerative life support". Bioscience. 47 (9): 575–85.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  4. "What is an EcoSphere? (Shrimp and Gorgonia coral)".<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>