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Could Mankind Ever GM Trees, To Grow On The Ocean?

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posted on Dec, 9 2010 @ 10:30 AM
The ocean would almost be a great place for trees to grow, as it would not much be different to a hydroponics system if
1.The roots could be anchored to something firm
2.The tide didn’t affect whatever the roots were attached to
3.There were no waves powerful enough to break everything up

So how might it be done…
Obviously there are tonnes of plants capable of growing in sea water, they simply tend to have a lot more salt inside them, than those on land. So…

Stage 1
1. GM a tree to grow in sea water
2. Plant it (as a sapling) in a sea water pond on land
3. Give it a web of (streched) plastic string to entangle its roots through

Stage 2…
1. Build a floating Pontoon (but unlike a boat harbour, just a single pole, in the sea bed, with a floating-plastic platform in its centre.
2. Build floating platform with hundreds of holes in it (so that plastic strings can be threaded-tied into it, and so these strings can then form a web-lattice with other neighbouring Pontoons
3. Transport saplings (and roots) by van-truck to nearby sea. Since its roots are already entwined with plastic strings, attaching it to the Pontoon’s string-lattice, shouldn’t be very hard
4. Over time trees will grow bigger. Meaning your ratio between Pontoons to trees can fall, meaning overall investment costs fall too.

Tree Uses…
1. Construction wood possibly
2. Paper almost certainly
3. Bio fuel no problem
4. Animal feed possibly (any fruits they produced would be salty, but the salt can be removed in fresh water, leaving behind only animal protein-food.

Land is incredibly cheap in e.g. the 3rd world. It’s probably cheaper (right now) to just cut down a bit more rainforest for timber.

Main Advantage…
Give mankind another 500 years of existence, where land-dessert has (mostly through desalination technology, and the cheap electricity to power it) already been fully utilised, then maybe the sea is the next big frontier?

Can you imagine looking back at Earth, from e.g. the moon -several centuries from now and seeing….
1. Brownish-greyish land & cities
2. Bright blue shipping lanes
3. Blue “marine nature reserves”
4. And everything else, just a huge ball of forested green?

All I want to know is this idea the future, or a complete dead ender? (Say for reasons I’ve overlooked?)

As for wildlife…
1. Birds would have a good time living off the insects eating the trees-leaves
2. Fish would be ok providing some sunlight was allowed through. Most species of fish could actually thrive, as more seaweed could grow near-on the tree routes, and the tree leaves would produce plenty of dead organic matter
3. BUT: If done to its full potential: Too much CO2 could be removed from the atmosphere. This would mean burning-nuking some of the Earths remaining carbon reserves. However methane produced by decaying waste could help sustain the planets temperature, to roughly what it is today.
4. There is no chance it would get out of hand, as the trees will still require someone to put a pontoon down (somewhere). If not the whole thing could float away, and be broken up by rocks. Also if the trees need to be grown on land, we could make them dependant on some artificial, fertilisation hormone (rather like Monsanto’s “terminator genes” to control… governments!) (but in this case, just keep a control on growth!).

Is this just an impossible, crazy idea? Or is my “Green Planet Vision”, possibly the future (especially in a World assisted by the endless labour, of Artificial Intelligence -machines?)

posted on Dec, 9 2010 @ 12:22 PM
I would love to get more in depth on this topic, because what you have presented is rather interesting! While certain genetic approaches are being done to make fresh water plants tolerant to sea water, nothing has shown up publicly that can. As of now, from what I have read and heard, the thing to be thinking about is how to turn that dang sea water into freshwater to feed land crops. But then again if that happen, we may have a War for Water.

I think it would be sweet to build a giant island of the trash in the ocean, have it all wrapped up, with tiny holes to let in small sea life to possibly get trapped in, die and feed the plants. There is numerous underwater plants that produce oxygen that could possibly grow in such an environment. Of course you would have to have this thing anchored. Maybe once life became abundant in this new community you could introduce some algae to the outsides of the plastic? Maybe put Thick flotation devices all around this ring to help keep it a float, maybe even have a large enough experiment going on that you can utilize the new technology that takes the energy from the waves in the ocean and converts it to usable energy.

posted on Dec, 9 2010 @ 12:25 PM
Interesting thread, and I'm sure it could be done. However, why use plastics? Plastics are harmful to the environment. I suggest finding an alternative to keep the trees afloat.

posted on Dec, 9 2010 @ 05:59 PM
So a tree would be great to grow in water, except every single thing which makes it a tree needs to be altered in order to do it?

Great theory!

posted on Dec, 9 2010 @ 06:12 PM
That's the smartest thing I've ever heard anyone say ever.

It is a really good plan I think you should try to make it a reality

posted on Dec, 9 2010 @ 07:34 PM
reply to post by Frontkjemper

I believe the reference to using plastic is because there is already a huge "island" of plastic in the Pacific Ocean. I think another advantage to this idea is the oxygen/carbon dioxide exchange. Interesting idea!

posted on Dec, 10 2010 @ 10:22 PM
Thanks everyone for the encouragement. Thanks also, for useful criticisms…

Originally posted by Frontkjemper

However, why use plastics? Plastics are harmful to the environment. I suggest finding an alternative to keep the trees afloat.

Plastics needn’t be bad for the environment, but you need to see a thread I did here, to know what I'm on about….

I opted for plastic, because everything seems worse! The ocean is full of creatures that eat anything organic, preservatives get washed away, and most metals (all expensive) can’t be used, because the ocean is salty. Fibreglass could be used, but it’s hardly any better than plastic (and in some ways worse).
Plastic is cheap, strong, salt proof, and will therefore last for decades (hopefully like my tree’s!).

Originally posted by Gakus

So a tree would be great to grow in water, except every single thing which makes it a tree needs to be altered in order to do it?

A GM tree could convert sunlight more efficiently into fuel, since no light is absorbed by the waves. Furthermore (just by living in water) growth rates for this tree would “kick ass” compared to anything on land. Also over 2 thirds of a tree is its routes, so at least their (kinda) well designed for floating.
Another advantage is (If) CO2 is such a problem, then this tree offers an extra way mankind could “mass remove” CO2 from the atmosphere. Thereby (some day) perhaps even enabling proper climate control?
edit on 090705 by Liberal1984 because: Spelling

posted on Dec, 11 2010 @ 11:02 PM
reply to post by Liberal1984

Hasn't nature already done this? They're called mangrove trees.

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