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


Transforming leading freshwater and marine technologies to enable pan- European experimental ecosystem studies across all climates

  Work package leader: Umeå University, Sweden
Contact:  Johan Wikner
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Task 7.1 Conceptualisation of a prototype AQUACOSM
Task 7.2 Construct offshore water collection devices to fill AQUACOSMS from exposed sites
Task 7.3 Construction of a prototype mesocosm(s) and testing of the AQUACOSMS during the first winter in the northern Baltic Sea (M11-M17) 
Task 7.4 Conceptualization and testing of methods to avoid or handle wall growth
Task 7.5 Construction the AQUACOSMS
 Task 7.6 Testing of the AQUACOSMS under Arctic conditions in NyÅlesund


WP7 explore a novel combination of leading freshwater and marine expertise in AQUACOSM to overcome several major limitations in present mesocosm based science:

  • Lack of standardisation hamper comparisons between facilities and experiments, limiting our ability to understand the functioning of ecosystems from local to global scales.
  • Wave action prohibiting pelagic mesocosms in open lake and marine areas, effectively omitting most of the marine and large lake pelagic ecosystem from mesocosm experimentation. This is especially critical in most southern European areas where natural well-protected coastal areas such as fjords are scarce.
  • Fouling, especially in pelagic mesocosms, prohibits long experiments (months-years), relevant for many expected ecosystem responses to climate as well as human drivers.
  • Lack of resistance to ice formation has prohibited winter studies in Alpine, Boreal and Arctic areas of Europe. This is critical since sites with seasonal ice are predicted to be most sensitive to elevated temperature.

The AQUACOSM consortium encompass pioneering expertise on each of these fields; the FVB-IGB LakeLab (WP6.1) is ice-resistant, the GEOMAR KOSMOS (WP6.6) is resistant to waves up to ca. 3 m and have (manual) systems for wall cleaning, The Lake Warming Experiment at AU (WP6.13) are presently running the worlds longest climate warming experiment (13 years). However, there exist no mesocosm that is resistant to both waves and ice. WP7 therefore aim to design a novel mesocosm type allowing experiments in ice and moderate waves (minimum 1m), combined with an effective and low maintenance system to minimize wall growth, all in an affordable mobile mesocosm: the AQUACOSM. The design and use of the AQUACOSM will be widely promoted by the AQUACOSM project, aiming to support a rapidly growing network of tightly collaborative mesocosm projects throughout Europe and globally. These goals will be achieved through by completing 6 Tasks.


D7.1 Final water collector system constructed (M24)

D7.2 AQUACOSMS constructed (M38)

D7.3 Antifouling concept report (M48)

D7.4 Arctic test report (M48)