School of Life Sciences | Ask A Biologist

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Biome 360

Virtual Biomes

By Charles Kazilek
Illustrated by Sabine Deviche and CJ Kazilek

show/hide words to know

  • Biome: a large area of plants and animals that occur naturally.
  • Virtual: a simulated (made up) environment based on the real world. Often computers are used to create virtual worlds.

Explore Biomes in Virtual Reality

While it is fun to visit and explore each biome in person, it is not likely that you can get to all of them. So we are gathering some 360 views of the different biomes that you can use to explore and learn about each biome. It is like having your own private window looking into these amazing places.

There are three ways to view each biome. You can use a computer and click and drag to look around. You can also use your smart phone like an iPhone or Android with their gyroscope enabled function to look into each biome. In this mode you can move the phone around as you to look into the biome. Finally, if you have Virtual Reality (VR) goggles like Google Cardboard, you can immerse yourself into each biome. Be sure to stand up and turn and look around to view all of the space.

We are just getting started, so bookmark this page so you can find your way back to explore more virtual biomes as they are released. We also welcome your feedback and suggestions.

How to explore the virtual biomes

How to iconOnce you enter the biomes there are some basic icons you want to look for while you explore each one. The most important one is the Target Icon. You can find them located throughout each biome. They are used to move from location to location. On a computer, smart phone, or tablet you can click or touch the icon to move to the new location. When using goggles, you place the pointer on top of the Target Icon to move to the new location.

informaiton icon image Information Icon - information about a point of interest in the biome.

Target icon image Target Icon -  takes you to a new location in the biome.

Biologist Notebook

Pencil and paper taking notesWhen you explore these different biomes youu will want to take notes of what you see and hear. You can use your own notebook, or download our custom designed Biologist Notebook that can be used to document your travels and discoveries.


Desert Biome VR 360

This virtual biome is from the desert southwest of the United States. This desert biome is filled with desert plants and animals. Be sure to be on the look out for the rattlesnake.

Desert Biome 360 VR
Computer 360 smart phone 360 goggles 360
View with ComputerView with Smart PhoneView with Goggles


As you explore this biome, take notes on the types of plants and animals you find. Here are a few questions to get you started.

  • How are the plants and animals different than in other biomes?
  • What would you expect to be the biggest challenges for plants and animals that live in the desert?
  • Can you find the rattlesnake, Gila monster, and bird nest?

Rainforest Biome VR 360

Pop into this virtual rainforest found in Panama. Listen to the animals and explore the lush green plant life.

Rainforest Biome 360 VR

Computer 360 smart phone 360 goggles 360
View with ComputerView with Smart PhoneView with Goggles


As you explore this biome, take notes on the types of plants and animals you find. Here are a few questions to get you started.

  • How are the plants and animals different than in other biomes?
  • What would you expect to be the biggest challenges for plants and animals that live in the rainforest?
  • Can you find the termite nest?
  • What role do fungi have in the forest?




Temperate Forest VR 360

This virtual biome allows you to explore the temperate forests in Arizona and Colorado.  Not only can you jump from location to location, you can also travel in time. Look for the target icons that let you move between summer, fall, and winter seasons.

Desert Biome 360 VR
Computer 360 smart phone 360 goggles 360
View with ComputerView with Smart PhoneView with Goggles

As you explore this biome, take notes on the types of plants and animals you find. Here are a few questions to get you started.

  • How are the plants and animals different than in other biomes?
  • What would you expect to be the biggest challenges for plants and animals that live in the rainforest?
  • What differences are there between the different seasons?
  • What animals or signs of animals can you find?

Credits:

Desert 360 images by CJ Kazilek.  Locations include Lost Dutchman State Park, Senoran Desert east of Picacho, South Mountain Park, Arizona. Audio recording at locations by CJ Kazilek.

Rainforest 360 images by Karla Moeller. Locations include Pipeline Road, Gamboa, Panama. Audio recordings at locations by CJ Kazilek.

Rainforest 360 images by CJ Kazilek. Locations include Mount Humphrey Arizona, and Keystone Colorado. Audio recordings at locations by CJ Kazilek.

Points of interest by: David Pearson, Karla Moeller, and Charles Kazilek.

Google Cardboard

Use these 360 virtural explorations with a computer, smart phone, or Google Cardboard.

Learn more about -

Other Biomes

Share to Google Classroom

Be part of Ask A Biologist

by volunteering, or simply sending us feedback on the site. Scientists, teachers, writers, illustrators, and translators are all important to the program. If you are interested in helping with the website we have a Volunteer page to get the process started.

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Google Cardboard

Use these 360 virtural explorations with a computer, smart phone, or Google Cardboard.

Learn more about -

Other Biomes

Share to Google Classroom

Be part of Ask A Biologist

by volunteering, or simply sending us feedback on the site. Scientists, teachers, writers, illustrators, and translators are all important to the program. If you are interested in helping with the website we have a Volunteer page to get the process started.