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Tucson's Biosphere 2 wants to turn a 9,000-square-foot tank into a living model of the Gulf of California's oceanic environment, and is asking for the public's help to fund the project.

The Sonoran Desert is one of the most vibrant deserts in the world, a biologically-rich habitat that exists largely due to the yearly monsoons fed by water from the Gulf of California.

Rafe Sagarin, a marine biologist and program manager at Bioshpere 2, says the purpose of the project is not only to provide researchers with an opportunity to study this important habitat, but to also show the public the symbiotic relationship between land and water.

"We really want to share with our visitors that the desert and sea are tightly connected here, we want people to see that connection in a living form," Sagarin said.

The Biosphere 2 team has until April 22 to raise $100,000 on the crowd-funding site RocketHub. to help offset costs for the project.

Sagarin said the gulf's replica will also be a platform for testing marine robotics prototypes, such as remote-controlled submarines, because of the high risk of losing the expensive technology in the Pacific Ocean.