Biosphere 2: Earth Systems, Environmental Services, Technology, and Innovation

Biosphere 2 Grounds


In the Biosphere 2 VIP Team, Biosphere 2 and the Honors College are partnering to:

  • Connect UArizona students to the unique assets of a one-of-a-kind research and education facility
  • Collaboratively engage students in aspirational inquiry and research activities
  • Inspire the next generation of innovative and transdisciplinary problem solvers who understand the fundamental function of Biosphere 1, our home planet Earth, and the importance of resilient ecosystems and equitable access to their products

The project is expected to grow into multiple, interconnected Vertically Integrated Projects for Honors students at UArizona Biosphere 2 that are explicitly interdisciplinary and experiential, with a focus on Earth Systems and the roles of Innovation and Valuation in ensuring Resilient Ecosystem Services for current and future generations. New ways of thinking, new technologies, and new tools to better understand the interconnected science and human choices all provide a unique opportunity to engage students in creative, design-thinking approaches to aligning Earth systems realities with economic efficiencies to support an equitable quality of life for all our planet’s inhabitants. 

Experiences at Biosphere 2, a one-of-a-kind technological research tool that serves as both a large-scale science instrument and an inspirational education asset, will engage students in better understanding how our planet works and how valuable ecosystem processes are for both natural and human systems. Students will engage in hands-on activities and gain relevant understanding and thinking approaches — including use of models and data analyses — in collaborative research endeavors. 

We are especially excited to leverage the focal role of Biosphere 2 for hands-on science, peer community-building, and greater connections to faculty and mentoring opportunities. We are also excited about the diversity of existing staff, student, and faculty expertise across campus and disciplines that can coalesce in the service of student success, student-driven scholarship, and novel research. 

Issues Involved or Addressed

  • Earth systems
  • Control, scale, and measurement
  • Microbial communities
  • Coral health
  • Soil evolution
  • Carbon cycle
  • Food-energy-water nexus
  • Ecosystem services
  • Modelling
  • Closed systems

Methods and Tech

  • Data visualization
  • Storytelling
  • Engineering and design
  • Psychology of closed systems
  • Circular economy
  • Environmental/social justice and equity
  • Policy and law
  • Psychology

Academic Majors of Interest

Open to all majors and especially attractive for:

  • School of Natural Resources and the Environment
  • Ecology & Evolutionary Biology
  • Computer Science
  • Data Science
  • Environmental Science
  • Environmental Engineering
  • Biosystems & Systems Engineering
  • Sustainable Built Environments
  • Sciences: Physics, Atmospheric, Hydrology, Soil, Geo, Microbial
  • Technology
  • Math
  • Science, Technology, and Society
  • Environmental Economics
  • Health Sciences
  • iSchool

Preferred Interests and Preparation

Self motivated; comfortable with uncertainty; able to work well independently and in teams; passionate and dedicated, with creativity, collaboration, and leadership skills, as well as organization and attention to detail

Team Advisors

Kevin Bonine, PhD

John Pollard, PhD