Leadership & Mission


To serve as a center for research, outreach, teaching and life-long learning about Earth, its living systems, and its place in the universe.

  • Catalyze interdisciplinary thinking and understanding about Earth and its future;
  • Be an adaptive tool for Earth education and outreach to industry, government, and the public;
  • Distill issues related to Earth systems planning and management for use by policymakers, students and the public.

Joaquin Ruiz

Joaquin Ruiz

Director, Biosphere 2
Vice President of Global Environmental Futures, Thomas R. Brown Chair and Director of Biosphere 2,   Executive Director, Alfie Norville Gem & Mineral Museum, Professor of Geosciences, The University of Arizona

Joaquin Ruiz received his B.S. (1977) in Geology and Chemistry from the University of Miami and his M.S.(1980) and Ph.D. (1983) in Geology from the University of Michigan. He was Assistant Professor at the University of Miami from 1982 to 1983. In 1983, he joined the University of Arizona Geosciences Department as Assistant Professor and was promoted to Associate Professor in 1989 and Professor in 1993, serving as head of the Department of Geosciences from 1995 to 2000. He served as Dean of the College of Science from 2000-2019, Executive Dean of the Colleges of Letters, Arts and Science from 2009-2018, and Vice President for Innovation from 2013-2019. He was appointed Vice President of Global Environmental Futures in 2019 and has served as the Thomas R. Brown Chair and Director of Biosphere 2 since 2013. Dr. Ruiz served as President of the Geological Society of America (2010-2011). He is also a Fellow of the Society of Economic Geologists, and a member of the American Geophysical Union, the American Chemical Society, the Geochemical Society, and the National Research Council of the National Academies of Science. He is a member of the Mexican Academy of Sciences and was named a National Researcher by the Mexican government in 2010, when he was recognized for his outstanding scientific contributions and efforts to enhance Mexico's scientific and technological capacity through collaborations with the UA and research institutions in Mexico. In 2018, the Mexican Secretary of State named Dr. Ruiz one of forty distinguished Mexican citizens living abroad who have brought distinction to the country. He has served as Secretary of the Volcanology Section of the American Geophysical Union, Councillor of the Geological Society of America, and as a National Science Foundation Panel Member for the Instrumentation and Facilities Program and the Centers for Excellence in Science and Technology Program. He has served as Associate Editor of the American Journal of Science, Geology, Revista, and Geofísica International of the Institute of Geology, UNAM. As a scientist with equal abilities in chemistry and in geology, Dr. Ruiz addresses many first-order problems in the Earth Sciences, such as the development of new isotope systems for studying ore deposits and the tectonic processes involved in the growth and evolution of Mexico. His research team addresses problems ranging from the origins of life to present-day climate change.

John Adams

John Adams

Deputy Director, Biosphere 2

For two decades, John Adams has helped drive the evolution of Biosphere 2 through positions of progressive responsibility and oversight. Starting in 1995 he lead the terrestrial research initiatives exploring the effect of elevated CO2 on the complex mesocosms of Biosphere 2. Building on his deep knowledge of the facility and its science, Adams became Biosphere 2's Media Coordinator and Public Spokesperson in 1999, fielding inquiries from around the world, building public understanding of the University's groundbreaking earth systems science research and developing its K-12 education programs (Passport to Learning™). Adams' experience and vision filled critical roles throughout that period in several key positions, culminating in his being named Assistant Director of Planning and Facilities, a mantle he held for seven years. In 2014, Adams advanced to his current leadership role of Biosphere 2 Deputy Director. In part, the promotion marked a return to his roots, engaging as a key member of the team that plans and directs all research and related activities inside Biosphere 2 and the surrounding campus. .

Cherry Murray

Cherry Murray

Science Director, Biosphere 2
Professor, Physics, The University of Arizona

Dr. Cherry Murray, Professor of Physics at the University of Arizona, is Deputy Director of Research at Biosphere 2 focusing on environment, water, food, energy, and sustainable development. She obtained B.S. and Ph.D,degrees in physics from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.  Her research interests evolved from experimental condensed matter and surface physics to nanotechnology, innovation, R&D of telecommunications networks, to science, technology, national security and energy policy, science diplomacy and global sustainable development. From 1978 to 2004, Murray held a number of research and executive positions at Bell      Laboratories, eventually becoming Senior Vice President for Physical Sciences and Wireless Research, She then served at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory as Deputy Director and Principal Associate Director for Science and Technology from 2004 to 2009.  She was dean of Harvard University’s School of Engineering and Applied Sciences from 2009 until 2014. Murray served as the Director of the US Department of Energy Office of Science, from 2015 until 2017, overseeing $6 billion in competitive scientific research as well as the management of 10 national laboratories. She then became Benjamin Peirce Professor of Technology and Public Policy and Professor of Physics at Harvard until her retirement in 2019.A member of the National Academy of Sciences, the National Academy of Engineering, and the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, and co-chair of the InterAcademy Partnership, Murray has received the US National Medal of Technology and Innovation as well as the American Physical Society Maria Goeppert-Mayer Award and George E. Pake Prize. 

Kevin Bonine

Director, Education and Outreach, Biosphere 2
Joint Faculty in Ecology and Evolutionary Biology and the School of Natural Resources and the Environment, The University of Arizona

Kevin Bonine grew up in Tucson, graduating from TUSD’s University High School. He then attended the University of Arizona as a 1990 Flinn Scholar earning undergraduate degrees in both Economics (BA) and in Ecology and Evolutionary Biology (BS with Honors). Kevin’s graduate degrees, both MS and PhD, are from the University of Wisconsin-Madison where he focused on evolutionary physiology using lizards as a model system. His present research on reptiles and amphibians includes Gila monsters and canyon treefrogs, with emphasis on natural history, ecology, population genetics, and conservation. Kevin teaches many well-regarded UA courses, including introductory biology, herpetology, conservation biology, and vertebrate physiology. One of his newer courses is a collaboration with ASDM and Biosphere 2, titled Sonoran Desert Discovery, wherein UA students teach desert ecology to school children and the public. During the summer presession, Kevin teaches a popular three-week field course that explores the ecology and natural history of our region - from atop the Santa Catalina Mountains, through the Sonoran Desert, ending at the Desert Sea in the Northern Gulf of California in Mexico. In 2012 Kevin was recognized with the UA College of Science’s Distinguished Early-Career Teaching Award. Kevin is also Director of Outreach Initiatives in the College of Science at the University of Arizona and serves on the boards of directors of the Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum, Friends of Saguaro National Park, and the Intercultural Center for the Study of Deserts and Oceans (CEDO) in Puerto Peñasco, Sonora.

Biosphere 2 Board of Advisors 2021

Carlos Arámburo

General Director for Academic Issues, Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México

Edward P. Bass

Chair and Chief Executive Officer, Fine Line, Inc.

Ronald D Carsten

Former Chief Engineer for Missle Systems, Raytheon 

Vicki Chandler

Dean of Faculty, Minerva Schools at KGI

Robert W. Christopherson

Geosystems author and Geography Professor Emeritus, American River College

Julia E. Cole

Professor, Earth, and Environmental Sciences, University of Michigan

Teresa de León Zamora

Research in Transition for Sustainability at Universidad Iberoamericana Puebla

William E. Dietrich

Professor, Earth and Planetary Science, University of California, Berkeley

Exequiel Ezcurra

Director, UCMexus and Professor, Ecology, University of California, Riverside

Ira Flatow

Host, Science Friday, Public Radio International

James E. Geringer, Chair 

Wyoming Governor 1995-2003 Director, Public Policy and Strategy, Environmental Systems Research Institute

Deborah E. Goldberg

Arthur F. Thurnau Professor and Margaret B. Davis Distinguished University Professor of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology, University of Michigan

Mary M. Grier

Trustee, Agnese Nelms Haury Trust

Arthur L. Herbst

Joseph B. DeLee Distinguished Service Professor Emeritus,University of Chicago

Diana M. Liverman

Regents’ Professor of Geography and Development, University of Arizona

Constantino Macías

Director, Instituto de Ecología, Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México

David Mackstaller

Chief Strategy Officer, Secretary and Treasurer Discern Science International, Inc.

John F. Mars

Mars, Inc.

Laura Melendez 

Science Teacher, Atlas Preparatory School

Isabel P. Montañez

Professor of Geosciences and Chancellor’s Leadership Professor, University of California, Davis

Kirstin L. Neff

Manager, Southwest Rivers Program, National Fish and Wildlife Foundation

Henry N. Pollack

Professor Emeritus, Geological Sciences, University of Michigan

Linda B. Robin

Community Member and Philanthropist

Howard-Yana Shapiro

Senior Fellow, Plant Sciences, University of California, Davis and Chief Agricultural Officer, Mars Inc.

Sarah Brown Smallhouse

President, Thomas R. Brown Foundations

Moses Thompson

Tucson Unified School District/University of Arizona School Gardening Coordinator, University of Arizona Community and School Garden Program

Daniel Warmack

Equity Holdings, Ltd, Real Estate and Investments

Bryan Willson

Professor of Mechanical Engineering, Colorado State University


John R. Adams

Deputy Director, Biosphere 2, University of Arizona

Greg Barron-Gafford

Associate Professor, School of Geography and Development and Reserach Director, Food-Energy-Water Nexus, Biosphere 2, University of Arizona

Kevin E. Bonine

Director, Education and Outreach, Biosphere 2, University of Arizona

Elizabeth "Betsy" Cantwell

Senior Vice President, Research and Innovation, University of Arizona

Laura Meredith

Assistant Professor, Ecosystems Genomics and Research Director, Tropical Rain Forest, Biosphere 2, University of Arizona

Cherry A. Murray

Deputy Director, Biosphere 2 Research and former dean of the Harvard School of Engineering and Applied Sciences, Harvard University

Joaquin Ruiz

Thomas R. Brown Chair and Director of Biosphere 2, Vice President for Innovation and Strategy, Dean of the College of Science, University of Arizona

Scott R. Saleska 

Professor, Ecology and Evolutionary Biology and Research Director, Landscape Evolution Observatory, Biosphere 2, University of Arizona

Diane Thompson

Assistant Professor, Geosciences and Research Director, Ocean, Biosphere 2, University of Arizona