Dino Sphere

$59.95

The Dino Sphere is BioPop’s salute to nature — a solar powered showpiece for one of the world’s most extraordinary phenomena.

  • Hold one of nature's most magical occurrences in your hand
  • The glow comes from microscopic sea life called Dinoflagellates
  • Powered by sunlight, water and simple nutrients
  • No batteries or charging required

$59.95

What you’ll get

  • Hand-blown glass semi-sphere with a flat bottom
  • Living, bioluminescent dinoflagellates in separate packaging
  • Ventilated silicone plug

It's just very fascinating to know that a tiny living organism is making a beautiful light.

Karla B.

This product is an elegant means to bring a living product into your household

TechieBiologist

The Dino Sphere in 3 Easy Steps

dino sphere step 1

Open up your pouch of Dinos
and remove the sphere's silicon plug.

dino sphere step 2

Pour the pouch of Dinoflagellates
into your Sphere

dino sphere step 3

Dino’s natural glow will activate
within a day or two at night.

So what makes it glow?

Bioluminescence is the production of light by living organisms such as jellyfish, fireflies and many fish and other underwater species.

  • Dinoflagellates, or the “glowy stuff”, originated from a culture of marine plankton gathered from the ocean.
  • These Dinos have the natural ability to bioluminesce. Now we grow it safely in a sort of greenhouse laboratory environment
  • Gentle light and light agitation is all our Dinos need to start their natural glowing process.

The BioPop Story

While on a valiant quest to construct a sustainable biolight (biological light), the mad-ly skilled scientists at BioPop began experimenting with a particular type of bioluminescent plankton, called dinoflagellates, as a possible light source.

As they nurtured these dinoflagellates to find the best way to make them glow, the BioPop scientists came to a revolutionary realization: dinoflagellates is kinda hard to say. Their solution? Calling them ‘dinos’ for short, of course.

Next, they came to two even-more-revolutionary realizations: 1) the dinos required too much external stimulation (shaking) to make a truly sustainable biolight, and 2) the subjects of this pet project were kind of like a pet… The coolest pet ever!

With a minimal amount of nurturing, the dinos would create a light show. Even cooler, the light show depended on how well they cared for them. Much like stars in Claire Danes movies, unhappy dinos don’t glow as bright.

As the dust settled from their aha moment, they realized they needed the perfect home for their dynamic, light-producing new pets. Fortunately, their answer was in the nickname they’d already given them.

Frequently Asked Questions

And a few random ones

The dinoflagellates (dinos) housed in the Dino Sphere are single-celled plankton. More specifically these dinoflagellates are a marine species of unicellular non-toxic phytoplankton known as Pyrocystis fusiformis. They have chloroplasts and photosynthesize, just like plants do during the day. At night, these dinos have the ability to bioluminesce in response to mechanical stimulation (movement).

Our Dinoflagellates are a small faction of a larger population of phytoplankton that produce more than half the oxygen on Earth. More than all the grass, trees, forests and rainforests put together. So they help protect our oceans and all the creatures, big and small, both inside and outside of the water – even you.

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Scientists hypothesize that bioluminescence helps dinoflagellates avoid some night-time predation. The theory is referred to as the Burglar-Alarm Theory. When dinoflagellates are being eaten (disturbed, to say the least) their natural light gives away the location of the predator and in turn that predator becomes dinner for a larger fish or predator. Bye-bye dino predator. Lights out.

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The lifespan of the Dino Sphere will vary based on their exposure to moderate light, external temperature and how quickly they require new nutrients to be supplemented. Typically, a Dino Sphere will live for approximately 1 month to 3 months on nothing but a little indirect sunlight.

Dino Sphere requirements:

  1. Moderate lighting 8-14 hours a day
  2. Moderate temperature, ideal 69F (range 62F – 85F)
  3. Small weekly feedings (beneficial for optimal health

To extend the life of your Dino Sphere, use BioPop Dino Nutrients. With weekly small feedings of Dino Nutrients, the dinoflagellates can potentially reproduce indefinitely. Be careful - you can overfeed a Dino Sphere – do not overfeed. If you leave your Dino Sphere in a dark room for more than 4 days and they all expire, you can also purchase refills of the dinoflagellates for your Dino Sphere from BioPop (now available with zero guilt trips!). If this is all getting a little overwhelming, don’t worry — a complete care manual is included with the shipment of your Dino Sphere.

BioPop guarantees that your Dino Sphere will arrive alive and healthy. If the dinos are not alive upon arrival, we will issue a replacement order, free of charge. Please contact us immediately, and we will process the new dinoflagellate shipment right away.

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Let us start by saying that Dino Nutrients is to dinoflagellates as Plant Food is to plants. If you fail to feed a potted plant it will not suddenly die but instead, over time, will suffer nutrient deficiencies that will slow its growth, which eventually could contribute to the plant’s death. You can overfeed a plant and you can overfeed a Dino Sphere. Do not overfeed.

Dino Nutrients is nutrient enriched seawater. Feeding the Dino Sphere is beneficial in more ways than just adding nutrients- small weekly feedings also allow supply more dissolved CO2 to this micro-environment.

BioPop recommends feeding a Dino sphere roughly 10 to 12ml (measurements on the bottle) once every week by removing the stopper and pouring some in. (12ml ~ 2.5 teaspoons; Please don’t use an actual spoon unless it is clean and free of contaminates- dish soap residue is enough to kill a Dino Sphere). If you don’t have room or just want to keep the same fill level in your Dino Sphere, you can pour some of the liquid out before adding the Dino Nutrients. We recommend pouring it out into another container and starting another population!

One bottle of Dino Nutrients is 50ml, which is about 4 feedings. Feeding amounts do not need to be exactly measured. Dino Nutrients can be purchased in multiple packs from the BioPop website, and stored in a cool dry location for up to 6 months. Dino Nutrients can be stored even longer in a refrigerator. Please be sure to bring Dino Nutrients to room temperature before adding to Dino Sphere.

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We’re pretty sure you’re pulling our leg, but in case this is a serious question… of course it makes a great present! The Dino Sphere is easy to care for, unique, and affordable. Plus, do you know anyone who has living, glowing orb?

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Even though the creation of a whole new industry would be of great help to the economy, your Dino Sphere will do just fine on it’s own. Just make sure to leave it in a sunlit room out of direct sunlight

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You will magically be transformed into a Stomachsore-us Rex! While we recommend that you don’t drink the dinoflagellates because they live in salt water that will probably give you a tummy ache, the Pyrocystis fusiformis species of dinoflagellates we use are nontoxic and completely safe for children. Since the Dino Sphere is made of glass please monitor use by children. BioPop’s plastic Dino Pet is recommended for young children.

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Dinos don’t really grow, but they do reproduce. Asexual reproduction to be exact, meaning you don’t have to worry about teaching your youngsters about the birds and the bees… yet. The rate at which they reproduce is entirely dependent on the amount of available light, dark, and nutrients. You’ll be in charge of making sure the dinos get enough playtime in the light and sleep in the dark, but BioPop sells Dino Nutrients to make sure your dinos are flush with nutrients to extend their life.

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Please don't! Nothing included in your shipment should go in the fridge. The dinoflagellates are living organisms that need a precise temperature range to live (63-77° F or 17-25° C).

If for some reasons you are unable to fill your Dino Sphere with the dinoflagellates upon delivery, take the dinoflagellate pouch out of the box and give it the lighting and temperature conditions as described in the care information. The dinoflagellates can live in their pouch with the right conditions for several days.

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The Dino Sphere is an open system- the plug is ventilated so you don’t need to worry about pulling out the plug for air exchange. Dinoflagellates produce CO2 at night when they metabolize the glucose generated during photosynthesis. And during the daytime, they produce O2 as a byproduct of photosynthesis.

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The dinoflagellates in the Dino Sphere are special because they have a circadian clock that controls their bioluminescence and photosynthesis cycles. This internal clock is on a 24-hour cycle. Dinoflagellates photosynthesize during the day cycle and then produce bioluminescence, or natural light, during the night cycle. The internal clock is influenced or programed by day and night cycles of prior days (and weeks).

Since your dinoflagellates have been on Pacific Time (San Diego), they are accustomed to bioluminescing between 5pm (PT) and 5am (PT). Depending on where you live, do the time conversion and view your Dino Sphere during these hours. Your Dino Sphere will adapt to your schedule over time.

Ideally, dinoflagellates should get 10-14 hours of moderate light and 10-14 hours of relative darkness every 24 hours, at the same time every day. Dinoflagellates should not receive bright light or direct sunlight. Keeping their day/night cycle consistent is important. Using the natural timing of sunrise and sunset to set your day/night cycles is a good way to establish consistency (if you don’t have a light on a timer).

If you can provide light cycle consistency, the dinoflagellates will be luminescent whenever they are in their "night phase" and they will be non-luminescent when they are in their "day phase."

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Great question! You should buy our novel (children’s book) to discover the real truths.

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Although some species of dinoflagellates live in fresh water, the particular dinos we sell are found naturally in the deep blue sea. BioPop collected a few dinoflagellates from the ocean to start our original culture. Today we grow dinoflagellates in an indoor aqua farm (a 'greenhouse' like environment) so as not to impact the environment.

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The dinoflagellates inside the Dino Sphere respond to movement (gently swirling). They are also on a circadian clock like you and I. They sense when it is night-time and will only light up at night. You have to interact with your Dino Sphere at night in the dark in order to see the light (bioluminescence). The light is transient, lasting only for the moment it is moving. Once you stop moving the Dino Sphere, the dinoflagellates’ light quickly fades until their environment is in motion again. This helps them conserve energy.

During the night, the dinoflagellates produce an enzyme and a substrate (luciferase and luciferin) that when combined create energy in the form of light (bioluminescence). The bioluminescence from the dinoflagellates will be brighter later into the night (during movement) because the concentration of the luciferin and luciferase is higher. Once the dinoflagellates have emitted light during the night, they will continually ‘re-charge’ as the night progresses by producing more luciferin and luciferase.

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The Dino Sphere container is composed of handblown glass.

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Place your Dino Sphere in a room that gets moderate light during the day (10-14 hours), and moderate darkness at night (10-14 hours). Some light at night is ok, and light bulbs are ok as long as they aren’t overheating the dinos. Make sure the Dino Sphere stays within the temperature range of 63-77° F (17-25° C).

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Don’t shake your dog or cat! But it’s okay to shake your dinos... Dinoflagellates exist in tumultuous environments in the natural world. They’re used to cruising with the currents and crashing with the waves, so a little shake is nothing they aren’t well accustomed to.

Also, they’re photosynthetic plankton. That means, they’re much more akin to the lettuce on your salad plate than they are to the dog in your yard. Dinoflagellates don’t have brains, nerves, pain receptors or anything of the sort. If you still think the Dino Pet is cruel, then you should probably avoid beer, wine and even bread for that matter. Millions of microorganisms (yeast) die in the making of every delicious brew you drink, and sandwich you eat. (And definitely don’t wash your hands!)

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Bioluminescence is a good indicator of health. If your Dino Sphere appears dimmer at night and not producing the light it once was – DO NOT FEED. Stop all feedings and put Dino Sphere in a low light location (8- 14 hrs /day).

Make sure location allows for steady and consistent day/night cycles.

If possible, use a light timer to control the duration of light during the day. Leave your Dino Sphere in a consistent day/night cycle (without moving its location) for several days.

You may also swirl the Dino Sphere daily to promote air exchange.

After 3- 4 days, check for bioluminescence later in the evening (during night time cycle), at least 3 hours after consistent night-time cycle has begun. Swirl the Dino Sphere in a completely dark room (at night) to check for bioluminescence.

Dino First Aid Summary

  1. Stop Feeding
  2. Move to Low Light location (day cycle)
  3. Ensure consistent day/night cycles (do not move)
  4. Swirl daily

Once your Dino begins lighting up again you may continue weekly feedings.

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Beautiful art through Biology for the Popular Culture.