Professor Brown's presentation two weeks ago is interesting. I like his research in community ecology in aquatic system. I was amazed to find out that even for a creature as small as a crayfish can have such a complex community around them. The interaction is multi-faceted and complicated and can range from a mutualistic cleaning symbiosis to a parasitism depending on a variety of factors. It is interesting both the host and the worm species can exert some control over the interaction, and the combined interactions between them creates a truly fascinating picture of community assembly.
The crayfish community is way more complex as there are more than one species (actually at least 5~6 species, and sometimes as many as hundreds). It is such a subtle system that they affect each other. And Dr. Brown's research is more involved with how the community evolved, how they interact with each other, and what is their reaction to perturbation.
The parallel in our bio-build environment is: how can we make our building system live in harmony with the environment. Can we design buildings that can interact with the surroundings to be warm in winter, and cool in summer? Can we design buildings that make the most use of the sun, i.e. for heat and illumination? Can we incorporate plants or even an ecosystem to the building we designed? How does the surrounding concern? Soil, air inflation, plants, even underground water system are some of the concerns that we take when designing buildings. Then the question comes that once the building is there, how long can that last? Of course many factors will change since the building stands there, sometimes decades, or even hundreds of years. What are the factors that make the building system lost functionallity? How can we design a stable environment that can last as long as the building is there? We can get a lot of inspiration from Dr. Brown's research. Because the biology system is there for hundreds if not millions of years (because otherwise, they die out, those we see nowdays are the luckest ones that survive all the way around). And it is safe to say it is the most stable system in the world. It is interesting to apply those ideas to the Engineering world!