Science Buzz

Greenhouses — on the ocean floor!

Transparent biospheres beneath the Bay of Noli

The air of the greenhouse stands at 79 degrees with humidity hovering around 83 per cent. But this is no ordinary greenhouse: it’s 20 feet underwater!

The transparent “biospheres” beneath the Bay of Noli, in Savona, Italy, are part of Nemo’s Garden project operated by the Ocean Reef Group, which aims to find innovative ways of growing crops in places that lack freshwater or fertile soil. Resembling large balloons, the air-filled structures are anchored to the sea floor and float between 5-10 metres below the surface. Inside, water condenses on the roof of the spheres, dripping back down to keep the plants watered, while the warm, near-constant sea temperature nurtures the plants. What’s more, the high amounts of carbon dioxide act like steroids for the plants, making them grow at very rapid rates.

The success of Nemo’s Garden holds potential for developing countries. In regions where drought or natural conditions make agriculture impossible, a deployment of biospheres could be life-saving.