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

LMU Mesocosms

AQUACOSM-plus

At SLS we will carry out mesocosm experiments (in situ and land based) to investigate effects of invasion and food web structure on plankton communities and its consequences on food web dynamics. We will open for AQUACOSM-plus Transnational Access to specific experiments (see below), but also invite scientists to test own ideas with individual experiments in open time slots. We are especially seeking for experts working in microbial ecology, modeling and limnophysics.

Investigating effects of invasion and food web structure on plankton communities and its consequences on food web dynamics. Detailed project description will follow.

Project lead: Dr. Maria Stockenreiter; Prof. Herwig Stibor.

Timing: April to October 2021

Deadline for TA application at LMU-Mesocosms SLS is 26 February 2021, 13:00 CET.

 

AQUACOSM (call is closed)

Experiments at the LMU Munich Seeon Limnological Station (SLS) in 2021 will be performed in several lakes close to the Seeon Limnological Station. We will open for TA to specific experiments (see below), but also invite scientists to test own specific ideas with individual experiments.

Project: Investigating effects of disturbances on aquatic communities and its consequences for community composition, food web structure and trophic transfer efficiencies.

We will carry out mesocosm experiments in a variety of lakes with different trophic status to identify and quantify such effects of disturbances. We will open for AQUACOSM Transnational Access to specific experiments, but also invite scientists to test own ideas with individual experiments. We will offer Transnational Access to SLS for up to 150 person-days. We are especially seeking for experts working in microbial ecology, modeling and limnophysics.

Project lead: Dr. Maria Stockenreiter; Prof. Herwig Stibor.

Timing: March to July 2021

Experiments at the LMU Munich Seeon Limnological Station (SLS) in 2020 will be performed in several lakes close to the Seeon Limnological Station. We will open for TA to specific experimentsbut also invite scientists to test own specific ideas with individual experiments. The focus of our research at SLS is on experimental analyses of limnic pelagic food web dynamics. We also perform experimental analyses of theoretical food web models in aquatic environments. Such experimental analyses can help to bridge the gaps between results from theoretical models and field observations. We are especially seeking for experts working in microbial ecology, modeling, limnophysics and the benthic-pelagic coupling.

Extra call open for two experiments (11.0 and 11.1):

11.0  Zooplankton-Phytoplankton-Bacteria-Interaction in the absence and presence of a top predator – ZooPhyBac.Certain bacteria groups are present in large abundance when a top predator, such as fish, appears. These bacteria have the potential to negatively influence the life history of zooplankton like Daphnia magna. At the same time some phytoplankton species show high metabolic production rates of certain antioxidants (e.g., astaxanthin), which might enhance the resistance of zooplankton against negative metabolic influence of toxic bacteria, such as members of the Bacillus group.  Haematococcus pluvialis is the most promising phytoplankton provider of biotic antioxidants and acts as good food source for Daphnia. In this project we will investigate the advantages of this possible interaction of H. pluvialis, D. magna and Bacillus. sp., using a mesocosm approach that will allow upscaling to aquaculture demands.

Project lead: Maria Stockenreiter and Herwig Stibor. Timing: April to September 2020.

11.1  Interplay between trait diversity and ecological dynamics using aquatic communities as model system. This project focuses on the effects of diversity loss and trait dynamics in natural plankton communities. Considering traits as mechanistic links between biodiversity loss and ecosystem services we focus on questions a) how a loss of traits is affecting phytoplankton production, zooplankton composition and food web transfer efficiency? and b) do such trait dynamics result in feedback effects on the phytoplankton community? These questions will be addressed with diversity manipulated natural phytoplankton communities in lab and large-scale field experiments.  Project lead: Maria Stockenreiter. Timing: August to Oct 2020.

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11.2  Investigations of the pelagic-benthic coupling in aquatic systems and its potential interactions with stressors (call closed). The aim of this project is an examination of the ecological consequences and understanding of stressor interaction in shallow aquatic systems. Project lead: Herwig Stibor. Timing: May 2020.

11.3  Genetic and ecological characterization of invasive aquatic species (call closed). sowerbii is one example of a recently globally distributed species, which originated from China. Although mass occurrences of medusa were recorded and effects on aquatic food web dynamics are expected, the consequences of the jellyfish’s introduction to aquatic systems has not been analyzed yet. To figure out the trophic position of medusa, mesocosm experiments will be conducted. Additionally, combined analyses of genetic diversity and ecological function of this species, will allow a better understanding of cause and effect relationships within aquatic food webs exposed to invasion. Project lead: Herwig Stibor. Timing: May 2020.

Our field station, located in the middle of a lake district in upper Bavaria, which was formed after the last ice age 10.000 years ago, offers ideal conditions for the performance of large-scale mesocosm studies. Its infrastructure allows performing field experiments at different scales in about 60 nearby lakes showing different physical, chemical and biological characteristics. Some lakes are monitored since 30 years. The mesocosm system at SLS is highly replicable (up to 60), very mobile and customizable to the topic. We offer free floating or moored mesocosms suspended in water (10 000L regular), which can range from few liters to 10 000L. 

Potential experimental manipulations are, but not limited to: light intensity, spectral composition, nutrient supply rates, food web structure, and food web composition. There is also the possibility to use several 1000L tanks with an automated heat control system

The facility will be open from March to late October, however, if specific experiments require winter conditions, it is also possible to perform experiments during November and February. Typically, own experiments run from March to September with in-between open time slots. 

For successful TA applicants we offer access to SLS for up to 5 persons for 40-45 days in 2020.

Experiments will be performed in several lakes close to the Seeon Limnological Station. We will open for TA to specific experiments, but also invite scientists to test own specific ideas with individual experiments.
We encourage a wide range of Transnational Access (TA) users to apply. The focus of our research at SLS is on experimental analyses of limnic pelagic food web dynamics. We also perform experimental analyses of theoretical food web models in aquatic environments. Such experimental analyses can help to bridge the gaps between results from theoretical models and field observations. We are especially seeking for experts working in microbial ecology, modelling and limnophysics

We additionally welcome groups developing own research questions that address investigations of the pelagic-benthic coupling in aquatic systems and its potential interactions with stressors. Such projects could include experimental investigations of predictions from theoretical models or investigations of the effects of stressors on the strength of benthic pelagic interactions.
Our field station, located in the middle of a lake district in upper Bavaria, which was formed after the last ice age 10.000 years ago, offers ideal conditions for the performance of large-scale mesocosm studies. Its infrastructure allows performing field experiments at different scales in about 60 nearby lakes showing different physical, chemical and biological characteristics. Some lakes are monitored since 30 years. The mesocosm system at SLS is highly replicable (up to 60), very mobile and customizable to the topic. We offer free floating or moored mesocosms suspended in water (10 000L regular), which can range from few liters to 60 000L.

Potential experimental manipulations are, but not limited to: light intensity, spectral composition, nutrient supply rates, food web structure, and food web composition. There is also the possibility to use several 1000L tanks with an automated heat control system.

Available instrumentation can be found below.

A total of at ca. 320 person days will be allocated to external users through Transnational Access provided under AQUACOSM for 2019. It is anticipated that AQUACOSM will support stays of at least 5 persons for ca. 64 days, or potentially other combinations.

If you are interested, please contact us (stockenreiter@bio.lmu.de; stibor@bio.lmu.de  and seeon@bio.lmu.de) well before the application deadline, so we can advice you about possible options.

Specific experiments run from March to end of July:

1) Trait-related feedback dynamics in natural plankton communities

Project lead: Maria Stockenreiter. 01 March-30 June 2019

Introduction to the project: Biodiversity loss is often accompanied by a loss of traits related to resource use and growth, which are important for food web dynamics and trophic transfer efficiencies. In the DYNATLOSS II project, we specially focus on the feedback loop from reduced phytoplankton trait diversity to phytoplankton dynamics via diversity-mediated shifts in zooplankton. We will address this general objective with field experiments with natural plankton communities to estimate the direction and strength of total feedback effects. Additionally, we will analyse the individual components of the complex and multifactorial set of feedback effects (mainly by laboratory experiments).
Our work programme will focus on the following main research question: Can altered grazing, due to shifts in phytoplankton diversity results in multiple (and partially interdependent) feedback effects?
We will address this research question with a chain of testable hypotheses. Field experiments allow analysing total feedback effects under natural conditions. To disentangle individual feedback mechanisms such as linked to grazing dependent size distribution and nutrient availability, additional, highly controlled laboratory experiments will be performed.
These feedback mechanisms may all affect the community of herbivorous zooplankton. This could potentially compensate short-term effects of phytoplankton related shifts in zooplankton composition. In addition to the experimental approaches in laboratory and in the field, we will also model the proposed feedback effect using an extension of established nutrient dynamics models in phytoplankton – zooplankton systems. http://www.aquatic-ecology.bio.lmu.de/research/index.html

2) Experiments on benthic pelagic coupling and the sensibility to heat waves and agricultural run-off.

Project lead: Herwig Stibor ; July 2019

Introduction to the project: Shallow freshwater systems provide vital ecosystem functions, but are threatened by multiple stressors. Complex interactions between pelagic and benthic organisms and processes result in two alternative stable states. These are characterized by either phytoplankton or macrophyte dominance. Disturbances can push a macrophyte dominant system into phytoplankton dominance, which is associated with a loss in important ecosystem functions. Examples for such disturbances are rising temperatures through climate change or fertilizers and toxins originating from agriculture. The aim of the project is an examination of the ecological consequences and gaining an understanding of stressor interaction in shallow aquatic systems. Computer model supported micro- and mesocosm experiments will show whether rising temperatures, nutrient concentrations and toxins act additively, synergistically or antagonistically. The experimental systems will be composed of different pelagic and benthic primary producers and herbivores. . http://www.aquatic-ecology.bio.lmu.de/research/index.html

At LMU Munich Seeon Limnological Station (SLS) mesocosm experiments will be performed in several lakes close to the SLS. We will open for AQUACOSM TA to specific experiments, but also invite scientists to test own ideas with individual experiments. The focus of our research at SLS is on experimental analyses of limnic food web dynamics. We also perform experimental analyses of theoretical food web models in aquatic environments. Such experimental analyses can help to bridge the gaps between results from theoretical models and field observations.

At least 315 person-days will be allocated to external users during 2018 of AQUACOSM Transnational Access provision. Users are encouraged to apply for support by AQUACOSM to participate in experiments that are already planned and funded by the DFG, the Bavarian Government and an EU Career Integration Grant (CIG) to address effects of nutrient stoichiometry on lake food-web dynamics, consequences of microbial biodiversity loss for food-web efficiencies and the genetic and ecological characterization of invasive aquatic species. We offer approved users AQUACOSM Transnational Access to SLS for up to 6 persons for 40-45 days. We are especially seeking for experts working in microbial ecology, modelling and limnophysics.

Specific experiments planned to run from March to October 2018:

1) BIODIV – Interplay between trait diversity and ecological dynamics using aquatic communities as model system, Project lead: Maria Stockenreiter, March –May 2018. This project focuses on the effects of diversity loss and trait dynamics in natural plankton communities. Considering traits as mechanistic links between biodiversity loss and ecosystem services we focus on questions a) how a loss of traits is affecting phytoplankton production, zooplankton composition and food web transfer efficiency? and b) do such trait dynamics result in feedback effects on the phytoplankton community? These questions will be addressed with diversity manipulated natural phytoplankton communities in laboratory and large-scale field experiments.

2) INVASIVE – Genetic and ecological characterization of invasive aquatic species, Project lead: Herwig Stibor, August 2018. The freshwater jellyfish C. sowerbii is one example of a recently globally distributed species, which originated from China. Although mass occurrences of medusa were recorded and effects on aquatic food web dynamics are expected, the consequences of the jellyfish’s introduction to aquatic systems has not been analyzed yet. To figure out the trophic position of medusa, mesocosm experiments will be conducted. Additionally, combined analyses of genetic diversity and ecological function of this species, will allow a better understanding of cause and effect relationships within aquatic food webs exposed to invasion.

We additionally welcome groups developing own research questions that address investigations of the pelagic-benthic coupling in aquatic systems and its potential interactions with stressors. Such projects could include experimental investigations of predictions from theoretical models or investigations of the effects of stressors on the strength of benthic pelagic interactions. Potential experimental manipulations are, but not limited to: light intensity, spectral composition, nutrient supply rates, food web structure, and food web composition. There is also the possibility to use several 1000L tanks with an automated heat control system. The facility will be open from March to late October however, if specific experiments require winter conditions, it is also possible to perform experiments from November to February. Typically, user defined own experiments can run from March to October preferable in slots where no groups specific experiments run, but are not restricted to these time slots.

Our field station, located in the middle of a lake district in Bavaria, which was formed after the last ice age 10.000 years ago, offers ideal conditions for the performance of large-scale mesocosm studies. Its infrastructure allows performing field experiments at different scales in about 60 nearby lakes showing different physical, chemical and biological characteristics. Some lakes are monitored since 30 years. The mesocosm system at SLS is highly replicable (up to 60), very mobile and customizable to the topic. We offer free floating or moored mesocosms suspended in water (10 000L regular), which can range from few liters to 60 000L.

Legal name of organisation (short name)
Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität
Country
Germany
Continent
Europe
Organisation address

Ludwig-Maximilians Universität München
Department Biologie II
Aquatic Ecology
Großhaderner Str. 2
82152 Planegg-Martinsried

Infrastructure (short name)
LMU Mesocosms
Infrastructure address

Seeon-Seebruck, 80 km southeast of Munich, Germany

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

Description of the infrastructure: The LMU Mesocosms operated by the Aquatic Ecology group at the University of Munich (LMU) are situated at the Seeon Limnological Station 80 km southeast of Munich. The infrastructure consists up to 80 highly mobile mesocosms that are moored or free-floating. They vary in diameter from 0.9 to 2m, reach depths of up to 20 m, and can be filled in situ with lake water by submerging and then lifting floating rings, or by means of powerful pumps (10 m3/h). The high mobility of these mesocosms provides unique opportunities to deploy replicate experimental units simultaneously in several lakes. Approximately 60 lakes within short distance to the Seeon Limnological Station are available for experiments, which differ in size, depth and trophic status. For most of the lakes long term monitoring data (> 30 years) of basic physical, chemical and biological variables are available. Potential experimental manipulations include, but are not limited to, light intensity and spectral composition, nutrient supply, temperature regimes and food-web structure and composition. Additionally, LMU provides a land based mesocosm infrastructure including 3 basins of up to 900L with a temperature controlled heating device.

Available facilities and equipment include walk-in environmental chamber, large plankton growth chamber, 300-L indoor plankton cultivation facility, four-wheel pick-up truck, boat trailer and 6 boats. Probes for measuring standard physicochemical variables and chlorophyll enable fast in-situ characterisation of water quality. The following and instruments equipment are available for chemical, biochemical and biological analyses in the lab, the latter focussing on phyto- and zooplankton communities: multispectral PAM-system, fluoroprobe, FlowCAM, CHN elemental analyser, 2 spectrophotometers, 2 spectrofluorometers, spectroradiometer, ion chromatograph, Multi Color PAM, and high-quality microscopes.

Mobile LMU-Mesocosms: Alu-raft (l) and floating rings (r). Photos: H. Stibor & M. Stockenreiter.
Primary contact information (PI)

Prof. Herwig Stibor
Dr. Maria Stockenreiter

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Years of Mesocosm Experiments
2005 - present
Description of Facility

outdoor – pelagic/benthic – freshwater
8 concrete tanks, 3 temperature controlled basins, 10 smaller concrete tanks

Controlled Parameters

temperature, light, nutrients, species composition

Research Topics

plankton ecology, climate change scenarios, nutrients, stoichiomenty, biodiversity and community assembly

Primary interests
Specialist areas
Photos of experiments/installations
Munich Mesocosm facility on Campus, Photo: Dr. Stella Berger
Munich Mesocosm facility on Campus, Photo: Dr. Stella Berger
Infrastructure (short name)
LMU Mesocosms
Modality of access

Modality of access under AQUACOSM: At least 945 person-days will be allocated to external users during years 2-4 of AQUACOSM Transnational Access provision. Users are encouraged to apply for support by AQUACOSM to participate in experiments that are already planned and funded by the DFG, the Bavarian Government and an EU Career Integration Grant (CIG) to address effects of nutrient stoichiometry on lake food-web dynamics, consequences of microbial biodiversity loss for food-web efficiencies and the genetic and ecological characterization of invasive aquatic species. However, independent experiments by external users can also be accommodated. LMU Mesocosm experiments typically run for 3 to 12 weeks between March and October. Access is offered to a minimum of 6 persons for 40-45 days each in years 2-4.

Modality of access under AQUACOSM-plus: At least 550 person-days will be allocated to external users of AQUACOSM-plus TA provision. It is anticipated that AQUACOSM-plus will support a minimum of 5 persons for 55 days per year in M10-21 and M34-45. Users are encouraged to apply for support by AQUACOSM-plus to participate in experiments that are already planned and funded to address effects of nutrient stoichiometry on lake food-web dynamics, consequences of microbial biodiversity loss for food-web efficiencies and the genetic and ecological characterization of invasive aquatic species. However, independent experiments by external users can also be accommodated. LMU Mesocosm experiments typically run for 3 to 12 weeks between March and October.

Unit of access
What service and support facilities are available

Services currently offered by the infrastructure: Users have access to the laboratories, instrumentation, technical assistance, dormitories and lodging facilities at SLS. Additional accommodation is available in various B&Bs within walking distance, as are shopping opportunities for daily needs. Users are encouraged to cooperate with local scientists at LMU in Seeon and at the main university campus to take full advantage of the infrastructure and specific expertise. Numerous successful experiments have been conducted in the LMU Mesocosms over the past 20 years relating to response of lake systems to changing light and nutrient conditions, stratification depth, temperature and plankton community structure in national and international projects, e.g. AQUASHIFT (2005-2010), DynaTrait (since 2014), AQUACOSM (since 2017) and 12 other projects funded by the German Research Foundation (DFG).

Support offered under AQUACOSM: All external users will have access to office and lab space, cars and boats as well as instrumentation available at SLS. Free bench space is available for users bringing their own large instruments. All users receive support from the scientific team, permanently employed technical staff and other service personnel operating the LMU Mesocosms. Furthermore, given a large pool of interested students, both undergraduate and graduate research can notably support experiments, as has been successfully practiced in the past.

Support offered under AQUACOSM-plus: All users will have access to the facilities and services described above. Free bench space is available for users bringing their own large instruments. All users will receive scientific, technical and administrative support by LMU staff. Furthermore, given a large pool of interested students, both undergraduate and graduate research can notably support experiments, as has been successfully practiced in the past.

Accommodation
Special rules