Over a quarter century ago an eclectic group of scientists, artists, and visionaries built an incredible space on the edge of the Sonoran Desert. Their creation, Biosphere 2, was unlike anything ever, or since, that has been built on Earth. Part ecosystem greenhouse, part test bed for manned missions to Mars, and part experiment on human sociology, Biosphere 2 is an enormous self-supporting glass and steelstructure that houses a rainforest, a desert, a savannah, a mangrove, and even a 700,000 gallon saltwater ocean. But changes in ownership and changes in its mission have left some of its habitats neglected over time, especially its once rich coral reef ocean.
Now Biosphere 2’s new owners, the University of Arizona, are re-envisioning every space in this amazing facility, and one of the first areas of attention is the ocean. In this short film, we fly above and through Biosphere 2 and dive into its waters with marine ecologist Rafe Sagarin, who is leading a team to bring new life to its ocean and a renewed sense of wonder to its visitors and school groups. Their vision—inspired by the unquenchable curiosity of the original Biospherians—is to create a living model of the Gulf of California, an incredible sea that is intimately connected to the Sonoran Desert that surrounds Biosphere 2.