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

The User Selection Panel (USP)

A group of independent international experts will be responsible for selecting users for Transnational Access of the AQUACOSM platforms. These scientists thus form the User Selection Panel (USP), which will elect its own chair and act independently of the AQUACOSM project management. Nevertheless, to limit the administrative burden on the USP, its members will be administratively supported by the Steering Committee in the TA-application selection process, as described under WP6. None of the USP members is affiliated with an institute based in a country involved in the AQUACOSM proposal. The members were selected based on competencies and experience in the field.

Thus, the members of the board have a wide, highly complementary (from freshwater to marine systems) and deep knowledge in various aspects of mesocosm based science, coming from the USA, Estonia,  Croatia and Spain, none coming from any of the partner countries of the AQUACOSM consortium.

The responsibilities of the User Selection Panel will be to:

  • Select users for Transnational Access based on the selection criteria listed in WP6;
  • Give recommendations for new actions and activities.
  1. Elena Litchman is an aquatic ecologist and Professor at Kellogg Biological Station of Michigan State University in Michigan, USA. She has published extensively on phytoplankton community ecology, physiology and evolution, including climate change, harmful algal blooms and the importance of nutrient balances. Her research combines experiments at various scales, field observations, meta-analyses and mathematical models to understand how biotic and abiotic factors structure plankton communities and how they may re-organize under changing environmental conditions in the future. In addition to her research and teaching, she participates in various national (USA) and international panels and boards and is a widely sought-after member of working groups and speaker at conferences.
  2. Cèlia Marrasé is a plankton ecologist at the Institut de Ciencies 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 started to study the dynamics of different fractions of dissolved organic matter in relation with functional and specific diversity of prokaryotes and in the context of future scenarios of eutrophication and acidification. To achieve her objectives she combined fieldwork with meso and microcosms experiments. She coordinated the European project: Nutrient Dynamics mediated through turbulence and plankton interactions (NTAP). EVK3-CT-2000-00022 (2000-2004) where the experimental work was carried out with natural plankton communities enclosed in meso and microcosms.
  3. Eugènia Martí is a permanent staff researcher of the (CSIC) at the Centre d’Estudis Avançats de Blanes, Spain. Her research expertise is on the ecology and biogeochemistry of fluvial ecosystems. In particular, she has focused on assessing stream nutrient dynamics and associated biogeochemical processes at different temporal and spatial scales, and their controlling factors and driving mechanisms. Her research has been conducted in both pristine and human-altered streams mostly from arid and Mediterranean regions, and includes field observations and experimental approaches in situ and in the lab and the use of mesocosms. She is currently co-leading an open air experimental facility consisting on 18 flumes (12 m long, 60 cm wide) that are fed with water from wastewater treatment plant effluents ( to understand in-stream mechanisms of solute (nutrients and emergent pollutants) removal.  She has been the PI of national and international projects funded by USA-NSF, ESF, and the European Commission.
  4. 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. He is the autor/coauthor of more than 30 scientific  publications, supervised 1 MSc and 1 PhD student, and he is currently supervising 4 PhD students. Additionally to his research he is an active member of GLEON (, SIL and ASLO communities and has taken the leader position in several international and national projects as PI, project- or workpackage leader.
  5. Sunčica Bosak works as an Assistant Professor at Biological department, Faculty of Science, University of Zagreb, Croatia where she is involved in the teaching of Microbial ecology and Marine microbiology. She has been involved in research of marine phytoplankton ecology and taxonomy, especially in the oligotrophic ecosystems of the Mediterranean Sea, with the experience in the conventional mesocosm experiments. Recently, the focus of her research became the bentic diatomm taxonomy, marine biofilms and diatom-bacteria interactions in the marine phytobenthos, especially the ones associated with the epizoic habitats.

Further information about the task associated with the User Selection Panel(USP)