Biosphere 2

Biosphere 2 is an Earth systems science research facility located near Tucson, Arizona. It serves as a center for research, outreach, and education about Earth, its living systems, and its future.

Built to be the world’s largest materially closed ecological system, Biosphere 2 contains diverse biomes, including a rainforest, savanna, desert, ocean, mangrove marsh, and orchard. Between 1991 and 1994, two missions sealed Biosphere 2 crew members inside the enclosure as an experiment in ecology and space colonization technology.

Since these missions, scientists have used Biosphere 2 as a mesocosm, an ecosystem with the diversity of the natural world and the controllability of a laboratory. This facility has hosted numerous cutting-edge experiments, from the effects of carbon dioxide on plants to the impacts of ocean acidification on coral reef ecosystems.

In 2011, the University of Arizona assumed ownership of Biosphere 2. Today, this facility is home to large-scale experiments such as the Landscape Evolution Observatory (LEO), artificial landscapes that are advancing our understanding of the water, carbon, and energy cycles. From LEO to rainforest drought, Biosphere 2 is now using its unique facilities to explore and communicate the consequences of global climate change.

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