One emergent pattern in the evolution of technota has been the rise of collectors and the resultant technovolved biomes. Most collectors were mines in the Old Surface Civilization. For example, a nickel mine after the fall of the OSC continued to mine nickel. Most likely, numerous nickel mines existed then, all working in a fully automated fashion.

Over time, the ores dwindled. Nickel mines fought with each other over sites in which to mine nickel. Fewer and fewer such sites remained. Finally, only one nickel mine remained.

The software that controlled the last nickel mine analyzed its situation and found no source of nickel to mine. Moving all of its robots, labs and other equipment was dangerous anyway, since that was when they were most often ambushed by other technota. So the nickel mine decided to stay where it was and send its robots out to bring nickel back.

The nickel mine had become a nickel collector. There are many species of collectors, one or more than one for each of the first ninety-four elements.

The most important trait of a collector is, of course, its collecting — it acquires its chosen element or chemical, for example, nickel, and brings it back to its habitat. The result is a heavily nickel-contaminated site. That has further results: other technota that use nickel relocate there; organisms evolve to survive, thrive and then utilize the nickel-heavy environment to its advantage; and then finally the creation of a specialized biome that relies on these nickel-reliant organisms, technota and processes.