There is no Earth 2, but there is Biosphere 2—an experimental ecosystem entirely isolated from Earth’s atmosphere and ocean. Built more than 30 years ago in Arizona, Biosphere 2 was created as an experimental life raft designed to test the feasibility of creating Earth-like ecosystems in space.
The Biosphere includes seven biomes, which vary from rainforests to fog deserts. It even contains a 9,000-square-foot “ocean” with its own coral reef. Biosphere 2 ultimately failed in its quest to sustainably replicate our planet’s life-supporting conditions without outside inputs, but today, it lives a thriving second life supporting important scientific experiments, including the work of National Geographic Ocean Explorer Michael Lombardi.
Brandon Carr collects samples for OGL from the Biosphere 2 Ocean.
OGL teamed up with Lombardi to use the Biosphere ocean as a test bed for new methods of ocean exploration. Together, they developed biological sampling kits and a cell phone app that can be used by divers in a portable underwater habitat created by Lombardi and University of Arizona Professor Win Burleson. Biological sampling is difficult in any environment, but is especially difficult underwater. The combination of a portable underwater habitat that gives divers an underwater workspace plus OGL’s simple sampling tools and protocols will make it easier to explore, document, and manage the sea’s incredible biodiversity.
OGL’s work with Biosphere 2 and Mike Lombardi is just one example of the breadth of OGL partnerships—ranging from aquariums to governmental organizations—that help drive marine exploration and discovery.
Want to be involved in exploring new marine environments? Support OGL here.