This $150,000,000 research project was developed with an original mission to gather cutting-edge data on total environmental systems. By creating a 3.15 acre "sealed biosphere" completely isolated from the outside world, a handful of researchers embarked on an adventurous, though problem-plagued foray into understanding the delicate interdependence of biospheric systems.
Biosphere 2 contains numerous ecosystems under one roof. The fog desert was designed to simulate an arid desert ecosystem with an erratic climate. Throughout the desert, numerous diverse species of cacti, soils and saltbushes can be found.
The rainforest biome at Biosphere 2 was created to simulate several tropical rainforest habitats including a lowland rainforest, bamboo belt, Amazon flood plain and cloud forest. Approximately 300 plant species were introduced to the ecosystem.
Biosphere 2 was purchased by the University of Arizona and now serves as a research center and tourist attraction. Biosphere's mission is to serve as a center for research, outreach, teaching and lifelong learning about Earth, it’s living systems, and it’s place in the universe.