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Biosphere 2 | Ocean Biome I, Gigapan. 2011 by Patrick Millard

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About This Gigapan

Taken by
Patrick Millard Patrick Millard
Explore score
0.75 Gigapixels
Date added
Jun 24, 2011
Date taken
May 12, 2010

The Biosphere 2 ocean system is ideal for testing models of chemical or biological changes on an ocean community. It is unlike any other artificial system, due to its large scale and biological complexity. The unique closure allows whole system manipulations and monitoring that would be extremely difficult in a natural environment. Physical and chemical parameters such as mixing, gas exchange, nutrient concentrations, and partial pressure of CO2 can be independently manipulated. The Biosphere 2 ocean was originally designed to simulates a Caribbean reef. It is a large tank with a surface area of 35 x 20 meters (100 x 60 feet). It consists of a southern portion seven meters deep (21 feet) and a northern shallow lagoon, partially separated by a fringing reef (figure 4). The mesocosm is housed within a high grade, corrosion resistant 6XN stainless steel container. During construction this steel was coated with a paint epoxy resin to hinder corrosion and to reduce leaching of metals into the ocean water. The total water volume of the Biosphere 2 ocean is roughly 2,600,000 liters (676,000 gallons). The system houses about 15 species of fish, 10 species of algae, and many invertebrate species.

The system is totally enclosed as a separate mesocosm within Biosphere 2. Unlike most aquaria, animals are not fed. In fact this ocean is big enough to allow its organisms to rely on the internal food chain supported by algae photosynthesis. Light levels are relatively low due to a combination of latitude (32.5° North, outside of the tropical reef belt) and shading by the overhead glass and space frame structure. Nonetheless, the measured rates of primary productivity, calcification and nutrient uptake are comparable to those of tropical reefs. Survival of hundreds of species with minimal husbandry over almost a decade demonstrates that the system and its food web are largely self-sustaining.

Four principal types of substrate were incorporated into the reef: Arizona calcium carbonate-rich clay, Arizona limestone boulders and rocks, Caribbean limestone rubble, and Caribbean aragonite sand. Crushed oyster shells fill the cracks and crevices between large rocks. Aragonitic sand covers the foundation sediments in the deep ocean, the lagoon, and the beach. Numerous mechanical systems simulate or substitute for natural environmental processes. A wave generator and a series of five air-lift pumps are currently available to circulate water within the tank. A series of centrifugal pumps circulate water from the ocean to a separate room where the water is supplied to large experimental flow-through tanks and to heat exchange units. Two heat exchange units control the temperature of the ocean. They consist of large tubs containing plastic coils fed with hot or cold water from the Biosphere 2 Energy Center. Manually operated ball valves control the flow of hot and cold water through the coils. A series of filtration systems were initially installed, including algal turf scrubbers, protein skimmers, plate filters, and rotary drum filters. Over the last two years, it has been recognized that the ocean biota is very efficient at recycling nutrients and all mechanical filtration has been interrupted.

www.b2science.org Will open in a new tab or window

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Stitcher Notes


GigaPan Stitch version 1.0.0804 (Macintosh)
Panorama size: 750 megapixels (42080 x 17840 pixels)
Input images: 170 (17 columns by 10 rows)
Field of view: 166.0 degrees wide by 70.4 degrees high (top=25.0, bottom=-45.4)
All default settings
Original image properties:
Camera make: Canon
Camera model: Canon PowerShot G11
Image size: 3648x2736 (10.0 megapixels)
Capture time: 2010-05-13 01:26:14 - 2010-05-13 01:50:07
Aperture: f/4.5
Exposure time: 0.01
ISO: 80
Focal length (35mm equiv.): 142.3 mm
Digital zoom: off
White balance: Fixed
Exposure mode: Manual
Horizontal overlap: 35.2 to 52.0 percent
Vertical overlap: 35.3 to 42.1 percent
Computer stats: 4096 MB RAM, 2 CPUs
Total time 20:41 (7.3 seconds per picture)
Alignment: 6:15, Projection: 1:23, Blending: 13:03
(Preview finished in 10:11)

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