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Julie Langford had success as a botanist and professor at a University in the United States during the 1920s. When World War II broke out, she worked with the United States government on various projects, one of which involved the assault on Iwo Jima. She was so renowned and appreciated that when she left for Rapture, an investigation was launched to find out where she went. The people on the surface were unable to locate her.
Langford's skill allowed her to create Arcadia, a living forest in Rapture that provides the vital oxygen that the city needs to survive. Originally, Arcadia was open to the public; however, her and Andrew Ryan eventually got so greedy that they began charging people, a move Ryan believed was justified since he thought that businesses should be allowed to make a profit off of their products.
As ADAM began tearing Rapture apart, Langford started working on the Lazarus Vector which would bring the trees back to life if they died. When Ryan gasses Arcadia during the events of Bioshock, the protagonist, Jack, saves the trees and oxygen by creating and then deploying the Lazarus Vector.