All of us live embedded in webs of life known as ecosystems, and that can get pretty creepy — or astonishingly beautiful. Inspired by the mind-blowing new animated series Scavengers Reign, we’re talking about some of the best examples of alien ecosystems in science fiction. Then we dive into some real-life ecosystems on Earth, and reveal two important ways that scientists study environmental changes. Along the way, you’ll find out why algae is literally sucking the life out of coastal ecosystems. Plus, shouldn’t salt marsh grass have rights?


Notes, citations, etc.

Scavengers Reign

Expedition to the Barrier Peaks, Dungeons & Dragons module by Gary Gygax

Dry Land, by B. Pladek

A Half-Built Garden, by Ruthanna Emrys

The Daughter of Doctor Moreau, bySylvia Moreno-Garcia

Origins of the term “ecosystem”

The International Biological Program

Sippewissett Marsh

Research on the likely disappearance of Sippewissett and other saltwater marshes

Javier Lloret, who studies food webs at the Marine Biological Lab

Anne Giblin, who studies environmental chemistry at the Marine Biological Lab

Waquoit Bay

Learn more about algae blooms in Waquoit Bay leading to oxygen depletion in the water, via Christopher Flavelle’s reporting in the New York Times