Tucson Botanical Gardens


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Series Title: Why There is No Planet B

Learn of the cutting-edge science happening at the world's largest, longest, and most important closed ecosystem study ever: Biosphere 2. Essential environmental systems impact our quality of life through the air, water, soil, and biodiversity. Lessons from this model of Biosphere 1, our planet Earth, shed light on how we must endeavor to reconnect to the natural world if we hope to adapt to a changing climate.

Series special Offer!

*Guests of the Science Café are invited to stroll the gardens after the talk, courtesy of the Tucson Botanical Gardens (Open until 8:00 PM)

*It is strongly suggested that guests make reservations in advance, if they would like to dine @ Café Botanica, https://tucsonbotanical.org/cafe


Fall 2019 Science Café Presenters:

Thursday, September 5, 2019 at 6:00PM

Biosphere 2: Science for the Future of Our Planet

Presenter: Kevin Bonine, Director of Education, Biosphere 2, University of Arizona

The University of Arizona leads cutting-edge research at Biosphere 2, a small-scaled replica of our planet. For over 25 years, its mission has been to serve as a center for research, outreach, teaching, and life-long learning about Earth, its living systems, and its place in the universe. Current studies focus on the cycling of energy, water, and carbon in controlled environments. We can model drought conditions in the rainforest, seek answers to food security for billions, and test coral reef resilience in changing oceans - all so scientists can help us better prepare for our future world.  In this series, explore Biosphere 2 from the tops of the trees to the shore of its research ocean.  

Watch Kevin's Talk:




Thursday, October 3, 2019 at 6:00PM

Changing Landscapes from the Ground Up

Presenter: Katerina Dontsova , Associate Professor, Department of Environmental Science, University of Arizona

The Landscape Evolution Observatory (LEO) is a unique experiment at Biosphere 2, consisting of three massive slopes. Each plot consists of crushed basalt rock as a basis for soil formation and is equipped with more than a thousand sensors to monitor changes. This study examines initial landscape development under influence of rainfall and microorganisms with plants to be added soon. With time, slopes accumulate carbon from the atmosphere and new minerals that help plants grow. Results of how controlled experimental plots evolve will help us better understand the same processes as they happen in nature. This study aims to deepen our understanding of how landscapes may change as climate changes.


Thursday, November 7, 2019 at 6:00PM

Coral Reef Resilience: Hope for the Oceans

Presenter: Diane Thompson, Assistant Professor, Department of Geosciences; Director of Marine Research, Biosphere 2, University of Arizona

The UA Biosphere 2 Ocean (B2O) provides a unique opportunity to test novel solutions for restoring resilient coral reefs that can persist under changing ocean conditions. Key herbivore species have also been introduced to test novel solutions for restoring reef health from a degraded state ("bioremediation").  As we work to heal the coral reef in the B2O, we'll learn of the critical, physical, chemical, and biological conditions necessary for rebuilding coral reefs worldwide.  This talk will provide an overview and highlight initial insights from the bioremediation of the B2 Ocean.




Thursday, December 5, 2019 at 6:00PM

Effects of Drought on Tropical Rainforests

Presenter: Laura Meredith, Assistant Professor, School of Natural Resources and the Environment, Biosphere 2, University of Arizona

The Biosphere 2 Tropical Rainforest provides a unique opportunity to holistically evaluate how these vital ecosystems respond to environmental change. This Fall, an international team of scientists will come together and conduct a controlled drought experiment. We will evaluate the impacts of environmental stress on the carbon and water cycle. Specifically, the team will study the biological coping mechanisms of plants and microbes under drought conditions. In this talk, learn of initial results from this exciting research campaign. Discover how biodiversity and environmental impacts may shift with dryer tropical rainforests.







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