Written by: Charles Kazilek
Illustrated by: CJ Kazilek and Sabine Deviche

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

Once 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.

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

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

Biologist Notebook

When you explore these different biomes you 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 image link

Coheight= smart phone 360 goggles 360
View with Computer View with Smart Phone View 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?
  • Learn more about the desert biome.

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 image link

Computer 360 smart phone 360 goggles 360
View with Computer View with Smart Phone View 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?
  • Learn more about the rainforest biome.

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.

temperate forest image link

Computer 360 smart phone 360 goggles 360
View with Computer View with Smart Phone View 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?
  • Learn more about the temperate forest biome.

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.

View Citation

You may need to edit author's name to meet the style formats, which are in most cases "Last name, First name."

Bibliographic details:

  • Article: Virtual Biomes
  • Author(s): Charles Kazilek
  • Publisher: CJ Kaziilek
  • Site name: ASU - Ask A Biologist
  • Date published: August 24, 2016
  • Date accessed: February 24, 2018
  • Link: https://askabiologist.asu.edu/explore/Virtual-360-Biomes

APA Style

Charles Kazilek. (2016, August 24). Virtual Biomes. ASU - Ask A Biologist. Retrieved February 24, 2018 from https://askabiologist.asu.edu/explore/Virtual-360-Biomes

American Psychological Association. For more info, see http://owl.english.purdue.edu/owl/resource/560/10/

Chicago Manual of Style

Charles Kazilek. "Virtual Biomes". ASU - Ask A Biologist. 24 August, 2016. https://askabiologist.asu.edu/explore/Virtual-360-Biomes

MLA 2017 Style

Charles Kazilek. "Virtual Biomes". ASU - Ask A Biologist. 24 Aug 2016. ASU - Ask A Biologist, Web. 24 Feb 2018. https://askabiologist.asu.edu/explore/Virtual-360-Biomes

Modern Language Association, 7th Ed. For more info, see http://owl.english.purdue.edu/owl/resource/747/08/
Use these 360 virtual explorations with a computer, smart phone, or Google Cardboard.

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