The University of Arizona

College of Agriculture and Life Sciences

Biosphere 2

Biosphere 2 in nearby Oracle, Arizona is managed by The University of Arizona, and serves as a laboratory for controlled scientific studies, an arena for scientific discovery and discussion, and a far-reaching public education center.

History: Biosphere 2 is well-known to the public as the site of two missions, between 1991 and 1994, in which people were sealed inside the glass enclosure to measure survivability. Behind this highly public exercise was useful research that helped further ecological understanding. Columbia University managed Biosphere 2 from 1996-2003 and reconfigured the structure for a different mode of scientific research, including a study on the effects of carbon dioxide on plants. In 2007, the property was sold to a private development corporation. The Biosphere 2 now serves as a tool to perform experiments aimed at quantifying some of the consequences of global climate change.

Ecosystems: Ecosystems under glass an ocean with coral reef, mangrove wetlands, tropical rainforest, savannah grassland, and fog desert.

Size: The Biosphere 2 apparatus enclosed 3.14 acre and is located on a 40 acre campus with labs, administrative offices, and dorms.

Contact information:
Dr. Dave Breshears