An Ocean in the Desert: RocketHub campaign launched to transform Biosphere 2 biome

Posted by Rafe Sagarin on Wednesday, March 12 2014


Rafe Sagarin

I’ve been working the last several months at Biosphere 2, which is now owned by the University of Arizona. We have been working to find the right balance of scientific research, STEM education, and visitor outreach for this strange and rather amazing facility with a history to match.

I’ve been in charge of the ocean where we’re transforming the old dead coral biome (lots of interesting reasons why that didn’t work) into a living model of the Gulf of California—a more regionally-appropriate look at the connections between desert and sea.

2000 Fellow Rafe Sagarin in charge of transforming ocean at Biosphere 2 into living model of Gulf of California

We just launched a crowdfunded campaign on RocketHub to get things going and I’d love your support—any size donation is much appreciated—and there are great gifts for different donations (including a chance to scuba dive in the ocean!). Just as important if you can pass on our campaign link to your friends and media contacts:

I would also love people’s views on science in a facility like this, as I try to develop research plans for the ocean biome. It’s certainly one of a kind, and it’s sits in an odd, but potentially valuable scale between the complexity of real field sites and the control of a laboratory. I’ve written about the renewed value of uncontrolled observational studies in the field for science (, and wondering about bridging the gap between these and more traditional (at least in a 20th century way) controlled laboratory studies. Your thoughts on this, and the tangled history of Biosphere 2, are welcome!

Biosphere 2 ocean biome

2000 Fellow Rafe Sagarin in the Biosphere 2 ocean biome

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