In the Arizona desert, scientists conduct studies and experiments aimed to help us better understand our environment and what sort of things are happening to it due to climate change. The location is Biosphere 2, an immense structure that contains a replica ocean, savannah, and rainforest, among other Earth biomes. It's a unique take on the Scientists in the Field mission statement -- in this case, the lab is a replica that allows the scientists to conduct large-scale experiments that would otherwise be impossible.
Grades 5-8. Continuing the tradition of excellence established by other award-winning titles in the Scientists in the Field series is Carson’s latest on the Arizona-based research project Biosphere 2. Formerly a self-contained mini-Earth inhabited by a group of scientists for a 730-day stretch starting in 1991, Biosphere 2 now acts as a “bridge between a laboratory and the real world,” combining research with public education and tours. Well-organized chapters, extensive color photographs, and diagrams supplement an engaging narrative that follows several scientists and their hands-on research. Scientists whose work is explored include a biogeochemist, a marine ecologist, an earth scientist and water expert, and a sustainability expert. No longer focused on how to colonize Mars, Biosphere 2’s research directly impacts people’s lives. From examining how forests handle climate change and the impact of the ocean becoming more acidic, to developing a deeper understanding of the water cycle for soil erosion and predicting climate conditions, the scope of the research is vast. “There’s not another experiment like this in the world,” says Biosphere scientist Luke Pangle. A glossary, bibliography, and extensive list of online sources provide an excellent jumping-off point for further student research. Truly eye-opening.