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Issue 4, 2004
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Biosphere 2 Center as a unique tool for environmental studies

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The Biosphere 2 Laboratory of Biosphere 2 Center, Arizona, is a unique, self-contained glasshouse fostering several mesocosms of tropical and subtropical regions on an area of 12 700 m2. It was constructed around 1990 to test whether human life is possible in this completely sealed, self-sustaining artificial ecosystem. Mainly due to overly rich organic soils, the initial mission failed in a spectacular manner that raised enormous disbelief in the scientific seriousness of the project. From 1995 to 2003, the facility had been operated by Columbia University under a completely new scientific management. The aim of the project had then been to conduct research in the field of ‘experimental climate change science’. Climatic conditions within the mesocosms can be precisely controlled. In studies with elevated CO2, altered temperature and irrigation regimes performed in the rainforest, coral reef and agriforestry mesocosm, the facility had proven to be a valuable tool for global climate change research. Upon submission of this manuscript, Columbia University is relinquishing the management of this facility now although there was a contract to operate the facility until 2010, leaving it with an unclear destiny that might bring about anything from complete abandonment to a new flowering phase with a new destination.

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The article was received on 04 Dec 2003, accepted on 23 Feb 2004 and first published on 17 Mar 2004

Article type: Tutorial Review
DOI: 10.1039/B315788A
Citation: J. Environ. Monit., 2004,6, 267-277
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    Biosphere 2 Center as a unique tool for environmental studies

    A. Walter and S. Carmen Lambrecht, J. Environ. Monit., 2004, 6, 267
    DOI: 10.1039/B315788A

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