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Updated Apr 25, 2014 - 11:19 am

Arizona getting a 'new' ocean

PHOENIX -- Arizona is getting a new ocean -- or at least a model of one.

The "ocean" is coming to the 700,000-gallon aquarium at the Biosphere 2 project northeast of Tucson. Project Manager Rafe Sagarin said researchers will be attempting to recreate the ecosystem in the Sea of Cortez.

"[There are] thousands of species of fish and invertebrates, and we'll take selections of those," Sagarin said. "You'll see very colorful fish. You'll also see probably small sharks and stingrays (and) we may be able to bring in sea turtles."

He said the original ocean in the Biosphere was modeled after the Caribbean and contained mostly coral, but there were issues from the start.

"The glass on Biosphere 2 is treated for UV radiation," Sagarin said. "But corals actually need that part of the light spectrum -- the UV -- to thrive, so right away, they were at a disadvantage."

After the coral died, Sagarin said they decided to shift gears and that's why the new project will focus more on other life forms found in the Gulf of California.

Researchers have already released hermit crabs into the water and Sagarin said the project should be complete within the next few years.

About the Author

A southern California native, Mark Remillard began working in radio in 2010 while in community college as a host of late night and weekend programming for publicly supported 88.5 FM KSBR. While working through college, Mark also interned for the Bill Handel Radio Program at Los Angeles' KFI AM640, where he began his work in journalism. Mark moved to Arizona in August 2012 to finish his bachelor's degree at Arizona State University's Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication and graduated in August 2014. Mark began working as a reporter for KTAR in November 2012.


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