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Fields of the Future

by LiveModern Webmaster last modified Jul 13, 2012 01:04 AM
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by Geoff Manaugh ( last modified Jul 12, 2012



Peter Brewer, an ocean chemist at Monterey, is working on what Nature Climate Change calls an "underwater aquarium."

[Image: A diagram of Peter Brewer's "underwater aquarium," via Nature Climate Change].

It is, Brewer explains, "a 10m-long flume with an experimental chamber that sits on a patch of sea floor containing animals whose response to ocean acidification is to be tested."

Brewer's artificial chemical microclimate—a partially enclosed carbon dioxide bloom—is framed by an architecture of buoyant bricks and mixing fans. "At present, it is on the sea floor about 850m below the ocean surface and 25km offshore," he adds.

The use of this technically enhanced architectural device to test undersea creatures—with its M.C. Escher-like logic of an aquarium surrounded by water—brings to mind other experiments for spatially probing the limits of life, including modified-atmosphere aviaries or even the Duke Forest, a forest-within-the-forest dotted with carbon dioxide-emitting masts.

[The "Aspen FACE," or Northern Forest Ecosystem Experiment].

The Northern Forest Ecosystem Experiment in Wisconsin, pictured above, is another example of using spatial tools to frame and demarcate an augmented ecosystem.

Further, there is an interestingly asynchronous quality to these experimental terrains: in each case, they are technically enhanced landscapes for the production of a speculative future biome, these and other "fields of the future" simulating what regions of the earth might be like in 50-100 years' time.




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