ECOntainer

The ECOntainer hosts a mini ecosystem which takes advantage of ant-plant mutualism: when ants and plants engage in a partnership that is beneficial to both parties. Based on this idea, the ECOntainer creates a secure environment for plant growth in space. The ants dig tunnels through the soil which aids in decomposition, the spread of nutrients, and soil aeration. Ants can even protect the plant from microbial pathogens. The container has two sections: top-half no soil, bottom half soil. First, the top lid has a hole for mesh ventilation. Second, there are two rectangles for plexiglass windows. Third, two troths: one for honey water (ant food) and the other for key nutrients (ant/plant food.) Fourth, the small holes give the ants freedom to roam; the large hole is for the plant that is placed within the soil. Fifth, the cone is both a water source and hydrotropism “anchor.” Finally, a nest for the ants where they will be inserted and are then free to roam. (Note, the lids snap in.)

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