AQUACOSM-plus: Offering Access to European Network of Leading Ecosystem Scale Experimental Aquatic Mesocosm Facilities
Jens C NEJSTGAARD1, Stella A BERGER1, Katharina MAKOWER1, Consortium AQUACOSMplus2
1 Leibniz-Institute of Freshwater Ecology and Inland Fisheries (IGB), Stechlin, Germany, 2 www.aquacosm.eu
Corresponding author e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
Human impact on the environment manifests in rapidly changing status of lakes and rivers around the globe. A wide range of effects have already been documented. We argue that for better understanding the mechanisms behind the observed development of any ecosystem, a combination of long-term data, coupled with ecosystem-scale experiments, have a greater potential to yield data that helps to understand the responses observed in each ecosystem by providing more comprehensive data for successful model testing and development of predictive concepts. However, the knowledge about the ongoing processes on ecosystem levels, is still limited for most systems. One reason is the great need for substantial technical investments and know-how to experimentally study ecosystems on adequate scales. Advanced large-scale facilities allowing such studies are not readily available to scientists throughout Europe, and even less so throughout the world. To overcome this regional lack of access to aquatic experimental (mesocosm) facilities, the EU-funded Research Infrastructure (RI)-projects AQUACOSM (2017-2020) and the newly expanded AQUACOSM-plus (www.aquacosm.eu, 2020-2024) offers access to >50 leading research facilities across the EU. The AQUACOSM-plus project network is further linked to a world-wide cooperation through the MESOCOSM.EU portal, a virtual network of >100 research facilities. Both networks comprise mesocosm facilities in all aquatic systems, including rivers, ponds, lakes, estuaries and marine systems – offering unique opportunities to conduct ecosystem-scale experimental studies of relevance to aquatic-terrestrial coupling.
In this talk we want to inspire you use these opportunities and apply for support (travels, subsistence and housing) from our network to participate in, or even design future experiments together!
These experimental research facilities can be used for large-scale process-based studies to test models based on trend or response observations, in order to understand underlying mechanisms of ecosystem functioning relating to the present global Grand Challenges (climate change, biodiversity loss, eutrophication, emerging pollutants, and much more). Interested persons are also welcome to suggest other uses of these research facilities, such as conducting ecosystem solution-based experiments to enable effective management in aquatic ecosystems. The AQUACOSM-plus network will fund access to >10.000 days for a wide range of external users, including scientists, students, industry and developers, from the whole world. Hope to see you at the talk!