pfc design notes 003 - Alien Kelp Forests
Unlike Earth's cephalopods, the Algeans had forward set eyes (similar to spider eyes, with fixed staring lenses, and shifting retinas). This suggests an arboreal environment, and indeed the Algeans were descended from arboreal creatures that lived in upside-down kelp forests.
Their home world's biosphere was largely concentrated in two places - clustered around ocean floor vulcanism, and on the underside of the ice crust. Nutrient gases and liquids rising from the ocean floor pooled into upside-down rivers and lakes, providing upper zone life a more consistent source of nutrients and a less volatile environment than the lower zone. However, the development of multicellular life resulted in kelp trees - trees which funneled rising nutrients using conical leaves. The taller trees would have a big advantage; eventually the areas above volcanic activity would be blanketed by kelp forests - limited in depth by ocean current shear forces. These forests would reduce the amount of nutrients reaching the upside-down rivers and lakes.
These kelp forests provided a rich arboreal environment which favored creatures with forward set eyes (side by side eyes with a large overlapping view allow seeing "through" an environment obscured by vertical stems). This environment was profoundly dark, though. Photoreceptors actually evolved in the lower zone, so creatures could seek/avoid volcanic activity. But its usefulness would spread to the upper zone, thanks to bioluminescence.
The Algeans thus lived in an environment not unlike our deep sea oceans, but flipped upside-down. This aesthetic is reflected in their automata designs - glowing with safety lights.
That's all for part 003!
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