Monday, June 19, 2017

Biosphere 2 Day 2


Cynthia diligently takes notes about the Biosphere
Today we toured Biosphere 2 which was my favorite part of the day. We started around 8 am and met our tour guide, Katie. She was really nice and shared a lot of information on all the biomes. When we first walked in I was really happy that it had air conditioning and the first lab we went into had cool sea animals such as fishes, crayfish, and hermit crabs. We started walking into the biomes and it was really interesting when we learned how they were using fish feces to grow the plants in the first section. We then walked to the desert and learned about how the trees were slanted because they don’t receive the support from the strong winds in an actual desert to be able to stand straight. We then walked to the marsh which didn’t seem as interesting to me after we walked through the tunnels to the ocean. When visiting the ocean I was informed that when the ocean was left unattended throughout the years when Columbia University left, a lot of algae and fungi formed in the ocean and they began to brainstorm ways to get rid of it and decided to use hermit crabs to help clean the ocean. Last but not least, we went to the rain forest which was my favorite part because the leaves were really green and I thought everything looked really pretty even though it was really humid.

Submitted by Cynthia Castro

Jacob is getting set to measure
the circumference of the tree
 Today, we took a formal tour of the Biosphere 2 facilities and most of its supplemental components. I was completely blown away by the complexity of the different biomes located in the main building as well as all the advanced technology used to control the environment. Our research group was able to explore the nooks and crannies of the rainforest biome specifically because most of our research will be conducted there. We entered the rainforest through a connection from the savanna and were instantly blasted with sticky, thick air which temporarily impacted our breathing patterns. As we walked down the trail to ground level, our legs were engulfed by thousands of ants which left us feeling uncomfortably close to nature for the next few hours. Joost, our head researcher, led us on a hike to the top of the artificial mountain in the middle of the rainforest. At each elevation of the mountain, the temperature progressively increased; so much so that at the peak of the mountain, all of the research group was drenched and dripping in sweat.

    The research group was able to scout out candidate trees for our experiment as well as test-run the equipment needed in order to make the next day’s research run smoother. As we scouted for possible species, we encountered some wild fruits like Barbados cherries, sweet mangoes, and budding figs which distracted us from the heat for a while. When we came to a decision on the tree species we would test, Joost educated us in the preliminary procedures for conducting our research, and gave us several tips to maximize our efficiency and results in the rainforest. Our time in the rainforest flew by fast which was a blessing in disguise because we were becoming weary from the heat.
Submitted by Jacob Vu

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