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

The User Selection Panel (USP)

The User Selection Panel (USP) is formed of independent international experts that are responsible for selecting beneficiaries of Transnational Access to the AQUACOSM-plus mesocosm facilities. The USP has elected its chair, Cèlia Marrasé, and acts independently of the AQUACOSM-plus project management. Nevertheless, to limit the administrative burden on the USP, its members will be supported in the TA-application selection process as described under WP9, and in particular by a web-based application portal that has been further enhanced under AQUACOSM-plus (WP5) to the Project Tracker. If requested by the USP, the SC can assist as needed (WP9).

The USP members were selected based on extensive competencies in the field of mesocosm sciences, in particular from research on impact of climate change, pollution and other disturbance on ecosystems covering biogeographic knowledge of relevance for AQUACOSM-plus facilities (from Mediterranean to Arctic).

The responsibilities of the User Selection Panel will be to:

  • Select users for Transnational Access based on the selection criteria listed in WP9;
  • Give recommendations for new actions and activities to improve the application and evaluation process;
    1. Cèlia Marrasé (USP chair) is a plankton ecologist at the Institut de Ciències del Mar (CSIC) of Barcelona, SPAIN. She is interested in understanding how physical and biological variables influence the nutrient fluxes in marine systems. In particular, she has studied the effects of small-scale turbulence on nutrient uptake by microorganisms, stoichiometry of organic matter and plankton interactions. Recently, she focuses on chemical-biological interactions, in particular, she studies the dynamics of dissolved organic matter in relation to the functional and specific diversity of prokaryotes and in the context of future scenarios of eutrophication and acidification. She combines fieldwork with meso- and microcosms experiments to achieve her objectives. Since July 2019 she is vice director of the Institut of Ciències del Mar.
    2. Alo Laas is a senior researcher at the Chair of Hydrology and Fishery, Institute of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences of Estonian University of Life Sciences (EMU). He is a limnologist/aquatic ecologist and he defended his PhD in applied hydrobiology at EMU in 2012. His research interests are connected with carbon cycling, lake metabolism, climate change and with high-frequency studies in water bodies. Additionally to his research and scientific teaching, he is an active member of GLEON, SIL and ASLO communities and has lead several international and national projects as PI, project-or workpackage leader.
    3. Sunčica Bosak is an Assistant Professor at the Biological Department, Faculty of Science, University of Zagreb, Croatia where she is involved in the teaching of microbial ecology and marine microbiology. She studies marine phytoplankton ecology and taxonomy, especially in the oligotrophic ecosystems of the Mediterranean Sea, and has experience in conventional mesocosm experiments. Recently, she focuses on benthic diatom taxonomy, marine biofilms and diatom-bacteria interactions in the marine phytobenthos, especially the ones associated with the epizoic habitats.
    4. Ali Ger is a plankton ecologist and Professor at the Department of Ecology of the Federal University of Rio Grande do Norte in Brazil. His experience is based on using experimental observations for providing a mechanistic understanding of ecological processes that drive larger-scale patterns in the abundance and distribution of plankton and the subsequent functioning of pelagic ecosystems. To this end, he works towards linking micro- and mesocosm experiments with field data across different scales. He is interested in the physiology, ecology, and evolution of plankton, phytoplankton-zooplankton interactions, defensive and offensive traits, adaptation, and the effects of global change on aquatic ecosystems. 
    5. Carmen Cillero Castro is a senior researcher and the head of R&D Department at 3edata (2016-present), a spin-off company from the University of Santiago de Compostela, Spain. She started her work in 3edata through a postdoctoral contract awarded competitively in the framework of the Spanish “Torres Quevedo Sub-Program”, funded by the Spanish Ministry of Science, Innovation and Universities. Her current field of research is focused on the use of Remote Sensing technologies and in situ networks, as a multiplatform approach, to monitor water quality with a special focus in drinking water. Carmen is the Project Manager of the Water-ForCE H2020 CSA. She has a PhD in the field of limnology of shallow lakes, coastal lagoons and bogs, with a main interest in their connection with the catchment LULC (Land Use Land Cover) and related water chemistry and eutrophication processes. She is a member of the Iberian Association of Limnology (AIL) and Global Lake Ecology Observatory Network (GLEON). Currently, she serves as the Chair of the GLEON Committee for inclusive Collaboration.
    6. Massimo Del Bubba is a Professor at the Università degli Studi di Firenze at Dipartimento di Chimica “Ugo Schiff”, Italy. He has a long experience in the development of analytical methods based on chromatography coupled to mass spectrometry and in the study of wastewater treatment technologies, including constructed wetlands, for the removal of nutrients, as well as inorganic and organic micropollutants. As principal investigator, he is currently carrying out research activities on the recycling of sludge from wastewater treatment plants for the synthesis of biochars and their use as sorbents in biological filters and constructed wetlands. Furthermore, he has a deep expertise in the analysis of fruit quality in terms of contents of primary and secondary metabolites, important for human nutrition and health protection. Recently, he has investigated the transfer of organic micropollutants of industrial origin to food crops, from treated industrial-domestic wastewater used for irrigation. He has been manager of research unit or principal investigator in several national and international projects concerning the issues of environmental sciences and food chemistry; he has been also scientific manager in numerous research assignments entrusted by companies.

We are grateful for the valuable work of the former USP members Roger Harris (Apr 2020 -Jan 2021), Benni Winding Hanson (Apr 2020 – Jan 2021), Eugenia Marti (Apr 2020 – Feb 2022) and Elena Litchman (Apr 2020 – Feb 2022).