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

Solbergstrand Experimental Facility (SEF)

NIVA’s mesocosm activities in 2021 open for AQUACOSM TA

  1. SEF-Hard Bottom

Project: Impacts of nutrients and ocean darkening on shallow coastal communities and system functioning (FutureMARESmeso)

Project lead: Eli Rinde and Camilla With Fagerli

Timing: April-July 2021.

Project details: As a part of NIVAs activities in the EU H2020 funded project FutureMARES, 12 outdoor mesocosm basins will be used to test the impact of nutrient increase and ocean darkening, on tidal / shallow subtidal ecosystem structure and functioning. We will quantify and test for changes in species composition and in functional structure due to the stressors. We will use a semi-natural ecosystem including approx. 40 species of macroalgae and 90 species of invertebrates to test the isolated and combined effects of nutrient increase and darkening (mimicked by using sodium salt of humic acid). Three replicates will be run for each treatment and for the controls. Measured responses will include night / day respiration and production- and survival rates of single seaweed species including perennial seaweeds such as Fucus spp., juvenile/seedlings of Saccharinalatissima, and opportunistic turf algae species.

  1. SEF-Flumes

Project: Impact of flow alterations and warming on microbial communities and system functioning.

Project lead: Benjamin Kupilas and Nikolai Friberg

Timing: April-June 2021.

Project details: Using our 16 outdoor freshwater flumes, we will simulate flow alterations of dammed rivers (low flow, hydropeaking) together with a warming treatment and study responses of microbial communities (i.e., diversity and functional changes). One topic relates to the species and functional interdependence of autotrophs and heterotrophs. Here, we want to test whether species interaction strength changes with different treatments.

We are currently increasing replication at our facility by adding two additional stream channels by the beginning of 2021.

NIVA running water flumes

Our 16 flumes are not planned to be used for any long-term experiments during 2020 and will be available throughout the period from March-October 2020. Each individual flume is temperature controlled with both heating and cooling (from sea water). Due to this set-up, the highest temperature differences can be reached in summer. In heating experiments, we will recycle water as it is not technically possible to temperature regulate a flow through system. However, we can exchange water frequently if needed. Last summer was very dry in this part of Norway and the river that potentially could feed the channels was almost dried up. Therefore, if an open flow through experimental design is needed this should be conducted in spring. 

Open Time slot for own experiments: March-October 2020

Contact: Nikolai Friberg and Benjamin Kupilas

NIVA hardbottom mesocosms:

NIVAs 12 large rocky shore mesocosms are open 2020 from March-October for international cooperation on suggestion of scientific topic from whom it might concern.

As seen in the description of the mesocosms, they are large and house diverse ecosystems (seaweeds and macrofauna) established over years. Thus, responses are on ecosystem levels and may be slow, and experiments have until now been performed over periods (weeks, months). The last years experiments have been run with a start-up campaign in spring/early summer (e.g. May), a midterm sampling campaign in summer, and closing in autumn (September or October), each campaign on about one-week duration. We are open for alternative schedules, but preferent within the period mentioned. The mesocosms are maintained by NIVAs staff during the whole experimental period.

With a high flow through of ambient sea water, it is too energy demanding for manipulation with temperature, but a heatwave of short duration may be possible. Since this is an open invitation, we are open for suggestions of stressors, and with 12 mesocosms we suggest two stressors tested by itself and in combination, three replicates of each including controls. We have experience with adding nutrients, adding small predators (fish, crabs), and manipulating with wave energy. We may also add CO2. The most relevant for the coming year may be combination of eutrophication and predators. The applicants may suggest their wishes, or contact hartvig.christie(at)niva.no for discussion of possibilities.

Contact: Hartvig Christie and Benjamin Kupilas

NIVA running water flumes:

Our 16 flumes are not planned to be used for any long-term experiments during 2019 and will be available throughout the period from April-October 2019. Each individual flume is temperature controlled with both heating and cooling (from sea water). Due to this set-up, the highest temperature differences can be reached in summer. In heating experiments, we will recycle water as it is not technically possible to temperature regulate a flow through system. However, we can exchange water frequently if needed. Last summer was very dry in this part of Norway and the river that potentially could feed the channels was almost dried up. Therefore, if an open flow through experimental design is needed this should be conducted in spring.

Open Time slot for own experiments: April-October 2019

Contact: Nikolai Friberg

NIVA Hard bottom facility: 

Project: CRABFISH2. 12 large mesocosms with already established seaweed ecosystem possible for testing two stressors each and in combination. Stressors have now been decided to follow up of mesopredator effects during almost 5 months in the summer of 2019. The project CRABFISH2 for 2019 will be a repetition of CRABFISH which gave interesting ecosystem responses by adding small labrid fish and green crabs, each and in combination. As the mesocosms reflect the ambient conditions, we expect different conditions for the coming year as 2018 conditions were extreme. The project in 2018 showed in addition to promising results, a promising opportunity for well performance of replicated studies of top-down responses on diverse ecosystems in mesocosms. The results from 2018 also indicate mesopredators to affect ecosystem structure and function. The 2018 experiment was visited by Dr Patrik Kraufvelin, he is invited to attend the 2019 project, as well as we invite other researchers to attend and contribute to a successful technical and scientifically run experiment.

Timing: May to October 2019

Contact: Hartvig Christie

NIVAs mesocosm facilities at Solbergstrand in 2018 opens for 2 mesocosm experiments in 2018. A total of at least 105 person-days will be allocated to external users through AQUACOSM Transnational Access provision in 2018 to NIVA.

1. Effects of different mesopredators on structure and function of macroalgae and invertebrate community on rocky coastal mesocosms. Project lead: Hartvig Christie, Nikolai Friberg. 01/08-15/10 2018

Rocky coastal mesocosms

For the rocky coastal mesocosms at Solbergstrand, Norway we plan to open for TA to an experiment where partners can participate and experience sampling procedures and result processing on ecological (community) responses on benthic macrophyte communities. Our plan at present is to study effects of two different mesopredators on structure and function on the diverse community dominated by macroalgae and invertebrates. Responses as production, structure, species composition and export of fauna will be measured by different methods developed for years during studies of those communities in mesocoms. During the years, these communities have developed to diverse compositions of intertidal and shallow subtidal macroalgae beds with associated fauna. Also, boxes with sediment and seagrass can be introduced.

In addition, some scientists (Germany) will test their own ideas on degradation of plastics in the intertidal wave zone that can be run independently of the other plans.

The experiment is not so far funded, but any activity of measurements of community responses will be possible as the mesocosms are running with water supply and all technical devices. The experiment will be initiated in spring 2018 by NIVA, and the best time for users to take part of the sampling will be one week in July and one week at the end of the experiment in late September/beginning of October. Preferably, the closing field campaign in September/October will be the best, both for scientific and the logistic reasons.

NIVA has a staff maintaining the mesocoms, in addition we have scientists operating PAM meter and experience with determination of quantitative and qualitative distribution of macroalgae. In addition, Patrik Kraufvelin from Finland has long experience with measurements in those mesocosms and will be a strength for the projects and the users.

A minimum of 5-8 persons for 10-15 days is suggested in 2018. Individual users and smaller groups are also invited to apply for AQUACOSM TA in support of larger projects at the facility.

2. Combined flow and nutrient responses on bulbous rush growth rate and development (1) and effects of warming on ecosystem structure and functioning (2). Project lead: Hartvig Christie, Nikolai Friberg. (1) 01/05-31/07, (2) 01/07- 31/12 2018

Running water flumes

We plan two specific experiments in the flumes that will be carried out for most of 2018.

The two experiments planned are 1) investigate combined flow and nutrient responses on Bulbous Rush (Juncus bulbosus) growth rate and morph development; 2) effects of warming on ecosystem structure and functioning. Experiments are expected to start in May with 1) followed by 2) starting in August. The latter experiment is planned to continue until at least end of 2018. The experiments are open for AQUACOAM approved TA users, either directly involved in helping to test the hypotheses proposed by NIVA or pursue own research ideas that can be tested within the planned experimental context. Expertise in plant physiology could support our work with 1). In 2) AQUACOAM approved TA users with expertise in functional genetics could be a good contribution. For both experiments ecohydrological expertise and novel ways of measuring flow conditions etc. could be valuable.

A total of at least 105 person-days will be allocated to external users through AQUACOSM Transnational Access provision in 2018 to NIVA. A minimum of 1-2 persons per experiment for 20-30 days is suggested in 2018. In 2) we might have more users/groups spaced in time.

Legal name of organisation (short name)
Norwegian Institute for Water Research
Country
Norway
Continent
Europe
Organisation address

Norwegian Institute for Water Research
NIVA Oslo
Gaustadalléen 21
NO-0349 Oslo

Infrastructure (short name)
Solbergstrand Experimental Facility (SEF)
Infrastructure address

Drøbak, located by the Oslofjord, Norway

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

Description of the infrastructure: The Solbergstrand Experimental Facility (SEF) of the Norwegian Institute for Water Research (NIVA) in Oslo comprises two complementary mesocosm facilities, a recently upgraded hard-bottom marine mesocosm system and a freshwater flume system. The benthic mesocoms are 12 concrete basins of 13 m3 receiving permanent seawater supply from the Oslofjord. The facility offers unique opportunities to assess community and ecosystem responses to various stressors on European intertidal and shallow subtidal rocky shores. Numerous experiments have been completed over the past 20 years, involving macroalgal and macrofaunal species established in the mesocosms. In addition to manipulating plant and animal diversity of shallow rocky marine habitats, environmental factors such as wave energy, tidal regime, water turbulence, nutrient supply, and acidification by CO2 can be experimentally controlled and altered.

The freshwater facility consists of 16 outdoor stainless steel flumes (10m long, 0.5m wide, up to 0.5m deep). Discharge can be increased to up to 3 l/s per flume to mimic headwater streams. Flumes are typically filled with natural substratum, stocked with biota before starting experiments, and can be run in circulation or flow-through mode. Long-term experiments lasting months or years with natural colonisation from a stream next to the facility are also possible. Stream water distributed to the flumes through header tanks, ground water or both can be used as water sources. Controlled parameters include discharge, flow velocity and temperature. A unique feature in running water experimental set-ups at the scale of the flumes is individual heating and cooling of the water in each flume. Substratum composition, water chemistry and biological components can be controlled to elucidate responses of stream communities and ecosystem processes to climate change and other environmental stressors. The facility includes pumps, thermostats and a groundwater dwelling in addition to temperature loggers, light meters, velocity meters, etc.

Laboratories associated with the facilities on site are equipped for water-chemical, microscopic and other routine analyses. Additional chemical analyses and other measurements can be made at the main NIVA lab in Oslo 60 km north of the SEF.

Benthic marine hard-bottom mesocosms (left) and freshwater flumes (right) at Solbergstrand Experimental Facility (SEF) in Norway. Photos: NIVA.
Primary contact information (PI)

1. Hartvig Christie
2. Nikolai Friberg
3. Benjamin Kupilas

1. Please login or register to view contact information., 2. Please login or register to view contact information., 3. Please login or register to view contact information.

Years of Mesocosm Experiments
1. 1996 - present, 2. 2015 - present
Description of Facility

outdoor – pelagic/benthic – marine/freshwater

1. Solbergstrand Mesocosms: Outdoor, 12 hard bottom mesocosms, 13 m3 ambient 1 m depth sea water flow through, benthic communities from 0-1.5 m depth, ca 40 species of benthic algae, up to 90 species of macrofauna.
23 fibreglass and concrete seawater pools with volumes ranging from 26 to 550 m3,  a number of smaller testing facilities on land, and the seabed outside the station to manipulate and control marine ecosystems.
Facilities at Solbergstrand cover:
– hard-bottom seashores
– brackish water systems
– seaweed and kelp communities
– soft-bottom sediments from clean and polluted areas
– pelagic communities from the upper water depths
– a larger system to simulate mixing zones in rivers
– testing of water treatment systems

2. Solbergstand Flumes: Outdoor, 16 stainless steel flumes: 10 m long, 0.5 m wide and with a maximum depth of 0.5 m (depth can be increased by Plexiglas panels). Discharge can be up to 3 L/s per flume with the current set-up so the facility mimics headwater streams. Flumes are seeded with both substrate and biota prior to experimentation depending on research question. However, longer experiments (months to years), and with natural colonization from a stream that runs next to them, is possible. Each flume can be individually re-circulated or have flow through of stream water. Water sources comprise both of ground water (limited amounts and not enough for continuous flow through) and stream water that are distributed to the flumes through header tanks.

Controlled Parameters

1. Simulation of natural environmental conditions such as current wave action, water quality, water flow, tidal range, temperature, salinity, pH, nutrients, flora, fauna

2. Master variables: Discharge, water velocity, temperature. Substrate, water chemistry and biological components can be controlled

Research Topics

1. Effects of environmental conditions/stressors on flora, fauna diversity and community function and ecological community structure

2. Reponses of stream biotic communities and ecosystem functioning to climate change and other environmental stressors

Primary interests
Specialist areas
Source of Information
Photos of experiments/installations
1. Solbergstrand Mesocosms – Schematic basin design (from Kraufvelin 2007)
1. Solbergstrand Mesocosms – concrete seawater basins (Photo: SA Berger)
2. Solbersstrand Flumes (Photo: SA Berger)
2. Solbersstrand Flumes (Photo: SA Berger)
Infrastructure (short name)
Solbergstrand Experimental Facility (SEF)
Modality of access

Modality of access under AQUACOSM: A total of at least 315 person-days will be allocated to external users through AQUACOSM Transnational Access provision in years 2-4. A minimum of 5 persons for 21 days is offered each year. Individual users and smaller groups are also invited to apply for AQUACOSM TA in support of larger projects at the facility.

Modality of access under AQUACOSM-plus: A total of at least 240 person-days will be allocated to external users through AQUACOSM-plus TA provision. A minimum of 6 persons for 40 days is offered for one year within M10-45). Individual users and smaller groups are also invited to apply for AQUACOSM TA in support of larger projects at the facility.

Unit of access
What service and support facilities are available

Services currently offered by the infrastructure: External users are given access to the full range of facilities at the Solbergstrand Mesocosm Facility. This includes access to both the marine and freshwater mesocosms and additional laboratory space, instruments, dormitories, kitchen and other facilities, wireless network access and a meeting room with video-conference equipment.

Support offered under AQUACOSM: All external users supported by AQUACOSM Transnational Access can use to the full range of facilities at Solbergstrand Mesocosm Facility. This includes the marine and freshwater mesocosms, laboratory space, indoor aquaria, analytical instruments, kitchen facilities, a meeting room with video-conference equipment, wireless network access and other facilities. Users will receive all training necessary to operate specific instruments and facilities prior to and during the experiments. Nearby dormitories can be offered.

Support offered under AQUACOSM-plus: All external users supported by AQUACOSM-plus Transnational Access can use to the full range of facilities at Solbergstrand Mesocosm Facility as described above. Users will receive all training necessary to operate specific instruments and facilities prior to and during the experiments. Accommodation can be provided next to the facility.

 

Accommodation

Cottage rental, lab and facilities, kitchen and meeting room for 24 persons are also available at the station

Special rules