Vivaria - small, enclosed (often air-tight) ecosystems with a sampling of species.

Nathaniel Ward


The original vivaria were relevant in global environmental education from their very inception. The value of enclosed "pico-ecosystems" was discovered by accident, by a British botanist, Nathaniel Ward. Ward noticed that although London's smog was killing the imported ferns in his garden, in the bottles of soil brought from the ferns' native ecosystems, which were populated with insects able to recycle oxygen into CO2, the same ferns sprouted healthily.

This discovery, and the subsequent invention of the Wardian case, had several salutary effects.

  • Environmental: heightened Victorian awareness of the risks of air pollution.
  • Economic: a new industry - vivarium supply for hobbyists and researchers.
  • Social: vivarium club membership was drawn from several class strata.
  • Educational: expanded public awareness of other ecosystems around the world.
  • Artistic: through Pteridomania, vivaria inspired new styles of graphic design.


Modern vivarium

Project Persephone aims to assess the recreational, social and environmental education value of exovivaria - vivaria collectively maintained teleoperatively in Earth orbit.

Further Reading

This page may have a more recent version on PmWiki:Vivaria, and a talk page: PmWiki:Vivaria-Talk.

GlossyBlue theme adapted by David Gilbert
Powered by PmWiki