What Is a Biodome?

Imagine you find yourself in the midst of a vast expanse of trees. Everywhere you turn, you are surrounded by ivy, flowers, and various other plants. The sounds of frogs croaking and crickets chirping fill the air. Where could you possibly be? Although it may seem like a rainforest, you are actually inside a biodome!

A biodome is a man-made environment that is self-contained and self-sustaining. It can be thought of as an ecosystem constructed by humans. Within a biodome, you can encounter a wide range of life forms, including plants, animals, fungi, and more.

Does this pique your interest? If so, you’re in luck! There are numerous biodomes around the world that are open to the public. One such biodome can be found in Montreal, Canada. Inside, you can explore five different ecosystems: a tropical rainforest, a maple forest, the Gulf of St. Lawrence, the Labrador Coast, and the sub-Antarctic Islands.

Burgers’ Zoo in the Netherlands also houses a biodome. It spans over 32,000 square feet (3,000 square meters) and was established in 2017. Within this biodome, you can immerse yourself in a mangrove swamp and learn about the diverse forms of life that coexist there.

One of the largest biodomes in the world is located in Cornwall, UK. Known as the Eden Project, it consists of multiple domes that encompass three distinct biomes: a humid tropics, a warm temperate, and a roofless biome. In total, the Eden Project covers an area of over 30 acres and is home to plants and animals from various regions around the globe, including Australia, Chile, the Mediterranean, southern Africa, and the Himalayas.

Is it possible for humans to live within a biodome? Perhaps! In the last few decades of the 20th century, a structure called Biosphere 2 was constructed in Arizona. From 1991 to 1993, a group of scientists resided within Biosphere 2, studying the habitats created inside the biodome. Another team of scientists entered the structure in 1994, but their project came to an end after six months due to conflicts. Presently, the University of Arizona owns Biosphere 2.

In 2017, NASA and the University of Hawaii conducted a study on the effects of humans living within a dome. This particular dome simulated a Martian environment, and six individuals spent eight months inside. They primarily consumed freeze-dried food and had to wear spacesuits whenever they ventured outside the dome. They engaged in activities such as playing board games, reading, and knitting while inside. Despite missing their loved ones, the participants seemed to coexist harmoniously.

Could similar domes one day enable people to inhabit other planets? Only time will tell. Some individuals also envision biodomes as a means of safeguarding endangered plants and animals. We hope that one day you will have the opportunity to visit one of these remarkable structures!

Try It Out

Continue your learning journey with the assistance of a friend or family member and the activities provided below.

  • Try it yourself! Watch this video to create your own biodome at home. You can also follow the written instructions. Make sure to have an adult assist you and gather all the necessary supplies. Enjoy making your biodome!
  • Explore different habitats on Earth. Read about at least three habitats and create a table or Venn diagram to compare their similarities and differences. Share your creation with a friend or family member and summarize what you learned.
  • Imagine a structure designed for human habitation on another planet. Draw a diagram of this futuristic home and write a brief description explaining how it can sustain human life. Consider factors such as food production, water access, and air supply.

References

  • https://espacepourlavie.ca/en/ecosystems-americas (accessed 01 Apr. 2021)
  • https://science.howstuffworks.com/environmental/conservation/conservationists/eden1.htm (accessed 01 Apr. 2021)
  • https://www.d2architects.co.uk/six-amazing-biodomes-of-the-world-1940.html (accessed 01 Apr. 2021)
  • https://www.solardome.co.uk/commercial/dome-uses/biodome/ (accessed 01 Apr. 2021)
  • https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/speaking-of-science/wp/2017/09/27/this-is-the-true-story-of-six-strangers-picked-to-live-in-a-nasa-dome/ (accessed 01 Apr. 2021)
  • https://learnersdictionary.com/ (accessed 01 Apr. 2021)

FAQ

1. What is a biodome?

A biodome is a man-made structure that replicates a natural environment, providing a controlled habitat for plants, animals, and ecosystems. It is designed to mimic the conditions of a specific biome, such as a rainforest, desert, or ocean, and is often used for scientific research, education, and conservation purposes.

2. How does a biodome work?

A biodome works by creating a self-contained ecosystem that sustains life within its boundaries. It maintains the necessary environmental conditions, such as temperature, humidity, light, and air quality, through the use of advanced technology and engineering. This allows plants, animals, and microorganisms to thrive and interact naturally, simulating a real-life ecosystem.

3. What are the benefits of a biodome?

Biodomes offer several benefits, including providing a controlled environment for research and experimentation, preserving endangered species, and offering educational opportunities. They can also serve as a means of sustainable food production, as certain types of crops can be grown within the biodome while minimizing the need for pesticides and herbicides.

4. Are biodomes sustainable?

Biodomes can be designed to be sustainable by incorporating renewable energy sources, such as solar panels or wind turbines, for power generation. Additionally, water conservation techniques, such as rainwater harvesting and recycling, can be employed to minimize water usage. The use of organic and natural farming methods within the biodome can also contribute to its sustainability.

5. Are there any limitations to biodomes?

While biodomes offer many advantages, they also have limitations. Creating and maintaining a biodome can be expensive and require significant technical expertise. The artificial nature of the environment within a biodome means that it may not perfectly replicate all aspects of a natural ecosystem, which can affect the behavior and interaction of the organisms within. Additionally, the size of a biodome may limit the number and diversity of species that can be housed within.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *