Building Ecosystems: The Creation of an Artificial Indoor Stream
Pagorek, Anthony P.
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Scientific and practical knowledge in the field of home aquariums has expanded to such an extent that it is now possible to reproduce most aquatic environments. Most importantly, it is easier to study the life cycles of fish, plants and other aquatic organisms within a small aquarium (Barrie 1987). It is with these improvements in mind that scientists, in a variety of laboratories around the world, have been making advances in creating and maintaining marine, estuarine and aquatic organisms in aquaria-like simulations (Adey and Loveland 1991). It is important to recreate these ecosystems because it is impossible to underestimate how close the relationship is between organisms. (Andrews 1988). However, few of these re-created aquatic ecosystems have led to notable scientific insights. Usually ecosystem models have helped scientists discover unlikely attainable forms of theoretical or field studies data. Due to the complex and fragile nature of aquatic systems, it has been harder to achieve such results (Adey and Loveland 1991). If human destruction and altered natural ecosystems continue, it is important that models of complex living systems be recreated. With this knowledge, the Lake County Solid Waste Management District (LCSWMD), a branch of the Indiana State Government, decided to take action by creating an Aquaculture Demonstration Project. This project was created with hope of improving public awareness regarding agricultural production, stream bank erosion, aquatic habitats, and land development. The LCSWMD hoped the public would understand that private and public policies must protect area watersheds and design plans to prevent future cases of non-point source pollution (IDEM Application Form). Within the planning of this Aquaculture Demonstration Project, the LCSWMD has taken the necessary steps to create a truly unique indoor freshwater Onocorhychus mykiss, Rainbow Trout, stream ecosystem (IDEM Application Form) (Figure 1). This model is intended to be closely related to its wild counterparts. The use of human engineering expertise, along with biological and ecological raw materials, combined to recreate the ecosystem that supports O. Mykiss.