The mission of Biosphere 2 is to advance our understanding of the natural and man-made environment through unique experimentation, training of interdisciplinary scientists, science education and public outreach, and organization of meetings to address grand challenges that affect the quality of life and the understanding of our place in the universe.
The University of Arizona Biosphere 2 consists of a unique large-scale experimental apparatus housing seven model ecosystems, a team of multidisciplinary scientists, a broad science education and public outreach program, and a modern conference center. The seven model ecosystems are: 1) a mature rain forest with over 90 tropical tree species, 2) a 2600 m3 ocean, 3) forested swamps dominated by mangrove trees, 4) a tropical savanna grassland, 5) a 1400 m2 coastal fog desert, 6) three desert hillslope grass-shrubland landscapes, and 7) Biosphere 2, its campus, and associated buildings and facilities serve as a 162,000 m2 model city and urban ecosystem. The Biosphere 2 Science Program addresses societal grand challenges related to water, environmental and energy management through design of large-scale experimentation in each of these model ecosystems. These experiments support the development of computer models that simulate the biological, physical and chemical processes to predict ecosystem response to environmental change. In return, these coupled-systems model simulations inform scientists about the next level of experimentation needed to advance understanding of these complex systems’ responses that can be tested against observations in natural systems.