Biosphere 2


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Biosphere 2,

privately funded ecological research project in which eight people lived sealed in a 3.15-acre (1.28-hectare) structure for two years (Sept. 26, 1991–Sept. 26, 1993). Located in Oracle, Ariz., about 35 mi (56 km) north of Tucson, and designed to depend on the outside only for electricity and sunlight, Biosphere 2 was intended to test the feasibility of a self-sustaining space colony. It contained over 3,500 plant and animal species and attempted to reproduce five ecosystems (see ecologyecology,
study of the relationships of organisms to their physical environment and to one another. The study of an individual organism or a single species is termed autecology; the study of groups of organisms is called synecology.
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)—desert, grassland, marsh, ocean, and rain forest. The human inhabitants (four men and four women) were to grow all their food and recycle their wastes, but used some seed stocks as food. The project's validity was questioned by scientists who criticized the plan to use outside electricity, the presence of stores of food and animal feed, and other aspects. A decline in the oxygen level led to the pumping of oxygen into the complex in 1993. A second crew entered Biosphere in Mar., 1994, but various disagreements and allegations of mismanagement made by the chief financial backer, Edward Bass, finally led to the abandonment of attempts at self-sufficient living. From 1995 to 2003 the management of the project was taken over by Columbia Univ., which used the facility for education and scientific research on environmental issues. In 2007, the Univ. of Arizona assumed management of the facility; it acquired Biosphere 2 in 2011.
References in periodicals archive ?
The history of Biosphere 2, its pros and cons, and its transformations come alive in a history key to any library strong in ecological research in general and Biosphere 2 events in particular.
Learning About the Planet At the Reborn Biosphere 2
Last month, after 18 years of government service, William Harris abandoned the no-nonsense National Science Foundation for the fringes of science: He took over as director of Biosphere 2.
Biosphere 2, the costly experiment in creating a closed, self-sustaining ecosystem in Arizona, failed because the concrete walls ate up oxygen and left humans inside with barely enough to breathe.
It's no surprise that they took big gulps of Earth's air; the air inside their dome, called Biosphere 2, had lost quite a bit of life-giving oxygen.
Columbia University Biosphere 2 Center, outside Tucson, Arizona, recently announced an ambitious goal to become energy `self-sufficient' by the year 2012.
Two dozen college students and two high schoolers will spend four months studying at Biosphere 2, where a series of changes announced Wednesday may improve the facility's tarnished reputation.
Geoscientists have fingered microbes as the culprits in the case of the missing oxygen within Biosphere 2, the sealed experimental ecosystem in southern Arizona, The concentration of oxygen in the enclosure's atmosphere dropped from 21 percent to 14 percent during the first 16 months of operation, causing residents inside to suffer symptoms of high-altitude sickness.
Martin Foundation will dedicate Columbia's new Biosphere 2 Observatory and new Student Center at an 11:00 a.
The worst part of the Biosphere 2 experiment was the people, says a former crew member who spent two years in a sealed glass-and-steel dome.
The David and Lucille Packard Foundation has awarded Columbia University's Biosphere 2 Center nearly one million dollars to help understand the effects of atmospheric changes on earth ecosystems.
Martin Foundation has awarded more than $600,000 to Columbia University's Biosphere 2 Center for undergraduate scholarships and campus expansion.