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

Task 9.1

Task 9.1 Transfer knowledge about key environmental challenges (WP2), best practices harmonization (WP3) and site specific environmental traits (WP6) into transnational joint research activities
Task 9.2 Performing joint experiments on key scientific questions along major environmental and bio-geographical gradients

Transfer knowledge about key environmental challenges (WP2), best practices harmonization (WP3) and site specific environmental traits (WP6) into transnational joint research activities (Lead: WCL, Co-Lead: LMU, Contributors: all partners , Month 1-24)

In Task 9.1 we will develop strategies for joint research activities based on the identified key environmental challenges currently taking place in European freshwater and coastal water bodies (WP2). We will combine the knowledge about environmental challenges and site-specific local environments and biological communities, by assembling a data base of key environmental traits (abiotic & biotic, such as local nutrient levels, temperature regimes, species pools and biodiversity) from each participating locality, based on research activities done in WP6 and previous work. We will develop strategies how to select appropriate sites/gradients to test specific research questions related to environmental challenges across different environments.

Better knowledge of “environment x stressor interactions” is generally needed to improve predictions about how, for example, GC will affect European waters. Identifying testable concepts in WP9 will be the foundation for establishing and improving joint experimental research strategy based on ecological theory. By also taking advantage of the continuous input from WP7 & WP8, which will develop new monitoring devices and standardized optimum designed and affordable winter/ice resistant mesocosm technologies, new cutting-edge cross-European standardized mesocosm science will be possible. This is needed to meet the spatial and temporal resolution that is necessary for adequate knowledge-based predictions in a leading European Science Area, and thus to achieve the overall goals of Task 9.1, Initially, we will organize a meeting during the Best practice workshop in WP3 where all partner sites will participate, where we a) discuss how to create a database about abiotic and biotic parameters of the different experimental sites b) identify how environmental stressors will interact with characteristics of local species pools, and c) develop research strategies how to tackle these interactions experimentally. A virtual workshop at M18 to prepare and harmonize the JRA pilot experiments salinity (9.2.1) and latitude (9.2.2) will include the relevant partners performing the experiments, and all partners from WP7 & WP8 developing new methods and infrastructure. A meeting at the final WP3 conference (M47, D3.12), with all partner sites participating, will be organized to a) report about the pilot experiments, b) performing an evaluation of the JRA pilot experiments within the project and c) planning JRAs beyond M48.

Task 9.1 will be the initial step to start joint research activities based on experimental designs that will valorise the surplus value of the European AQUACOSM consortium for environmental research questions.