EU network of mesocosms facilities for research on marine and freshwater ecosystems open for global collaboration.

Artificial Stream and Pond System (FSA)

Legal name of organisation (short name)
German Environment Agency
Organisation address

German Environment Agency

Infrastructure (short name)
Artificial Stream and Pond System (FSA)
Infrastructure address

Berlin-Marienfelde, Germany

Coordinates / (routes, areas if non-static)
Facility location(s)
Description of the Infrastructure

Description of the infrastructure: The Artificial Stream and Pond System (FSA) of the German Environment Agency (UBA) is a large and technically sophisticated experimental facility in Berlin. It comprises 8 outdoor and 8 indoor streams (100 m length, water volume of 40 m3 each), 8 outdoor and 8 indoor ponds (water volume of 60 m3 each) and associated equipment. In addition the facility comprises 18 small indoor ponds (water volume of 1 m3 each) and 8 small indoor stream channels (water volume of 2 m3 each). Special features that make the facility unique in Europe are it’s modular design (variable stream length, possibility to connect ponds and streams), an outdoor and indoor system and the ability to simulate flowing and stagnant waters. Further, the large size enables tests on all trophic levels including fish. The site offers water qualities from ground to waste water, and adjustment of variable flow velocities (0.02-0.5m/s). Additionally, there are options between riffle and pool sections in stream mesocosms, between terrestrial and littoral zone in pond mesocosms and the inclusion of pore-water sampling devices in ponds.

Each stream and pond is equipped with online instruments to continuously measure conductivity, O2, pH, water level, temperature, turbidity and, in streams, flow velocity. Computer controlled LED lightening (4 channels) is installed over the pond systems. Chemical variables such as contaminants, sediment and biota can be measured in the laboratory. FSA is well equipped with gas chromatograph-mass spectrometers (GC-MS), liquid chromatography-tandem mass spectrometry (LC-MS/MS), HPLC, TOC analyser, automatic titration units, Ion Chromatograph (IC), continuous nutrient flow analyser, etc. In addition, light conditions in and above the water of streams and ponds, chlorophyll a and phaeopigments, and many other biological variables are routinely analysed. All experimental data are fed into a central data base for quality checks and analysis. The data entry from defined analysis protocols (e.g. physico-chemical data) is automated. The database user programme is independent of system software and is available on the internet.

Artificial Stream and Pond System: Outdoor (l) and indoor flumes (r) in Germany. Photos: UBA
Primary contact information (PI)

Silvia Mohr



Fabian König



Rene Sahm


Years of Mesocosm Experiments
Since 2001
Description of Facility

Outdoor and indoor pond and stream system. The facility comprises 8 indoor and 8 outdoor ponds and streams, the latter of 1.6 km total length (indoor + outdoor). Water bodies are large enough to carry all trophic levels including fish

Controlled Parameters

Control of light, temperature, flow velocity, wind, colonization of insects etc.,

Simulation of groundwater flow in semi-natural conditions (influent/effluent flow regime, remobilization of substances)

Research Topics

Ecotoxicological, ecological, and hydrological studies (fate and effects of pesticides, biocides, pharmaceuticals, or industrial chemicals in ponds or streams; fate of viruses in bathing waters; model verifications; vertical mass transport water/sediment;
light pollution)

Primary interests

Ecotoxicological studies

Specialist areas

Upcoming years: mixture toxicity of chemicals, degradation of plastics, passive sampling (chemicals)

Source of Information
Photos of experiments/installations
Outside view of the hall housing the indoor artificial streams and ponds © Umweltbundesamt
Outdoor mesocosm system © Umweltbundesamt
Outdoor streams © Umweltbundesamt





Infrastructure (short name)
Artificial Stream and Pond System (FSA)
Modality of access

Modality of access under AQUACOSM: A total of at least 200 person-days for 4-8 persons, will be allocated to external users for AQUACOSM Transnational Access provision in year 2. Users supported by AQUACOSM are invited to contribute particularly to one of two projects: Fragmentation behaviour of plastics under hydraulic stress using saltwater and freshwater mesocsosms, and calibration of passive samplers for monitoring chemical contaminations in small streams.

Modality of access under AQUACOSM-plus: A total of at least 220 person-days, will be allocated to external users for AQUACOSM-plus TA provision. Preferably, groups of at least 4 persons using the facility for 24 days in two seasons between M10-45. Individual users and smaller groups are welcome to apply for AQUACOSM-plus TA support to cooperate within larger projects at the facility.

Unit of access
What service and support facilities are available

Services currently offered by the infrastructure: The FSA is operated by 10 permanent staff, which oversee the scientific and technical planning and maintenance of the facility. Since its establishment in 2001, >30 projects have been completed, mainly on the fate and effects of chemicals on aquatic organisms under near-natural conditions (see Other projects focused on hygienic, ecological or engineering aspects of surface waters. These investigations involved cooperation with universities, public research institutes and industries in Germany, Europe and overseas.

Support offered under AQUACOSM-plus: Users will have full access to the facilities at the FSA and will receive all training necessary to operate specific instruments and equipment prior to and during the investigations. Users will also have access to FSA’s laboratories, analytical instruments and data base. Substantial supported by scientific and technical staff will be provided as described above.

Special rules