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

UiB Mesocosm Centre (University of Bergen Mesocosm Centre)

The mesocosm facility does not open for Transnational Access in 2020.

UiB Mesocosm Centre announces open time slots for external users to test own scientific ideas. Mesocosm experiments can take place at UiB/Espegrend in week 21-22-23-24 (May/June 2019) or week 31-32-33 (Aug 2019), see TA-Calendar 2019.

AQUACOSM TA in 2019 can fund ca. 12 persons for 3 weeks (or 9 persons in 4 weeks). The field station has 20 rooms for accommodation.

Contact:  Jorun Egge,

UiB Mesocosm Centre announces open time slots for external users to test own scientific ideas. Mesocosm experiments can take place at UiB/Espegrend in week 21-22-23-24 (May/June 2018) or week 31-32-33 (July/Aug 2017), see TA-Calendar 2018.

AQUACOSM TA in 2018 can fund ca. 12 persons for 3 weeks (or 9 persons in 4 weeks). The field station has 20 rooms for accommodation.

UiB Mesocosm Centre (University of Bergen Mesocosm Centre)
Legal name of organisation
University of Bergen (UiB)
Organisation address

University of Bergen (UiB)
Department of Biology
PO-Box 7803
5020 Bergen OR Thormøhlensgate 53 A & B
5006 Bergen

Primary contact information (PI)

Prof. Jorun Egge

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Years of Mesocosm Experiments
Description of Facility

outdoor – pelagic – marine

1. Floating platform
including up to 12 floating rings with mesocosm bags ranging from 10 to 30 m3,  diameter  2 m; length 5-10 m, see Fig.1

2. Land-based system
with up to 18 tanks of 2.5 m3 , diameter 1.5 m; height 1.5 m, deployed within 3 tanks of 30 m3 , diameter 5 m; height 1.5 m, see Fig.2


Seawater enclosures

Nutrient composition, add/remove mesozooplankton, CO2/pH

Land based tanks

Nutrient composition, add/remove mesozooplankton CO2/pH, salinity, adjust light and temperature

Research Topics

Studies of the whole microbial community from viruses to mesozooplankton, grazing studies, initiate and follow specific phytoplankton blooms (e.g. diatoms, Emiliania huxleyi) acidification experiments, testing outcome/results of simulation models

Facility location(s)
Primary interests
Specialist areas
Source of Information
Photos of experiments/installations

Fig.1 Floating structure with 12 mesocosms (Photo: Stella A Berger)

Fig.2 Land-based mesocosms (Photo: Stella A Berger)


Infrastructure (short name)
UiB Mesocosm Centre (University of Bergen Mesocosm Centre)
Installation (short name)

Marine Biological Station, Espegrend, 20 km south of Bergen, Norway

Coordinates / (routes, areas if non-static)
Water / environmental conditions

Coastal water, with low influence from fresh water

Depths / bottom / surface
The closest fjord, Raunefjord, has a max depth of 240m, and at the location of the floating platform depth is ca 12m


The UIB Mesocosm Centre at Espegrend is part of the Department of Biology. It offers a wide range of opportunities for marine mesocosm experiments. The facility includes a floating platform with enclosures in the Raunefjord plus land-based outdoor mesocosms, both located at UiB’s Marine Biological Station (Fig. 1 & 2). A unique feature of the enclosures in the fjord is a floating shad that provides high-quality wetlab space and electricity for immediate sample processing and lab-based measurements of samples taken in the enclosures. The mesocosm can also be set-up for temperature (land tanks only) and CO2 treatments by users. Research vessels facilitate easy access from land to the platform.

Infrastructure on land includes multiple laboratories (chemistry lab, isotope minilab for 14C and 3H, live lab, formalin lab) where users can set up their own equipment and instrumentation. 3 walk-in cold rooms with running sea-water (2) and light control (1), offices and an auditorium that holds up to ca. 60 persons.

Instruments / sensors / equipment

Small boats (with outboard motor), CTD w/fluorescence sensor, plankton nets and water samplers. Pumps and airlift systems for mesocosms. General lab equipment such as freezers, ovens and washing machines for lab equipment, Milli-Q water (small volumes only), distilled water, a cooled centrifuge, basic microscopes etc

In collaboration with UiB scientists: state-of the-art microscopy imaging, fluorometer, genomics, proteomics, X-ray fluorescence, Flow cytometry, FlowCam, and more

Modality of access

Modality of access under AQUACOSM: At least 588 person days will be allocated to external users, which will be integrated into the existing schedule of the Mesocosm Centre. A minimum of 5 persons for 10 days are needed to successfully conduct an independent experiment in the UiB mesocosms. However, it is anticipated that typically AQUACOSM will support of groups of 14 persons staying for 20-22 days will be granted access in 2018 and 2019. To support increased international cooperation and foster adaptation of new approaches and techniques, individual users and smaller groups are also invited to apply for AQUACOSM TA when larger projects are already planned at the facility. Furthermore, to enhance scientific progress and output, efforts will be made to coordinate the AQUACOSM TA activities with other ongoing and planned projects.

Unit of access
What is available and when
What service and support facilities are available

Services offered by the infrastructure: In addition to providing access to mesocosms, the UIB Mesocosm Centre offers office and lab space to external users supported by AQUACOSM. Through collaboration with local scientists users can also gain access to a wide range of advanced UiB facilities, including electron microscopes, advanced light microscope and image analysis systems, flow-cytometers, and molecular laboratories. A particularly important feature is that researchers have an opportunity to verify experimental results in settings of increasing complexity, ranging from laboratory-based studies to well-controlled outdoor mesocosms on land and enclosures in the fjord. In addition, experimental results can be compared with observational data from a wide range of natural pelagic environments, given that the Norwegian west coast is the only place in Europe with close access to both coastal and oceanic environments.

The UIB Mesocosm Centre is well equipped to accommodate large-scale research activities. Operation started in 1978 and has since been continued with few interruptions in single years. This history provides the team at UIB with the longest experience worldwide in mesocosm studies of pelagic ecosystems. Numerous national and international research groups were hosted over the last 3 decades to conduct mesocosm experiments lasting from several days to months. Addressing a wide range of fundamental and applied marine ecological questions, these experiments have resulted in more than 100 peer-reviewed articles to date.

Support offered under AQUACOSM: All users will have access to the mesocosms, laboratories and office space. Scientific cooperation with UiB scientists facilitates access to additional facilities, instruments and expertise of local staff. To increase scientific advancements and output of the TA activity, beyond simple access to the mesocosms, all users will receive support with the planning of activities. This process needs to be initiated several months before arrival and will be accompanied by hands-on training and assistance throughout the stay by the local AQUACOSM team. In addition the users will benefit from support offered by permanently employed staff at the Mesocosm Centre.


Dormitory with 20 sleeping rooms, a few steps away from the laboratory building, modern large scale kitchen facilities where guests can provide their meals and a combined dining and living room. Laundry facility is available on site.

Special rules