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AnaEE Central Hub visited the Ecotron Ile de France and Planaqua


On July 2, 2021

@CEREEP-Ecotron IleDeFrance / Sarah Mahé
Michel Boër, Director General and Sarah Mahé, Program Manager, visited the CEREEP-Ecotron IleDeFrance (Centre for Research in Experimental and Predictive Ecology), a research center affiliated to CNRS and Ecole Normale Supérieure in France. This center is located 1 hour away from Paris, in the small city of Saint-Pierre-les-Nemours, and hosts numerous platforms dedicated to ecosystem ecology. The Ecotron IleDeFrance is located in a research building of 1000 m2 and consists of a platform of 15 climate chambers (called Ecolabs). The center also has numerous aquatic facilities including microcosms, standard mesocosms, and a unique set of large macrocosms. These equipments allow the detailed simulation of climatic environments in artificial conditions for ecological and evolutionary studies on small terrestrial and aquatic ecosystems. Facilities are used by external users from France and abroad.

The Ecolab platform uses the classical principle of controlled environmental facility, here closed chambers of a volume around of 13 m3 allowing to control with high precision a series of environmental parameters such as soil and water temperature, soil humidity, CO2 gas concentration, artificial lighting, etc (1). A complementary set-up will also be soon available to perform global change experiments on larger organisms and ecosystems, including trees. During our visit, the Ecolab platform was fully occupied with experiments on climate adaptations and epigenetics in plants, soil carbon dynamics, and soil gas fluxes.

The aquatic platforms of the center currently include laboratory microcosms, a range of outdoor mesocosms and an ensemble of 16 very large macrosoms with ca. 800 m3 of water. These equipments allow researchers to understand the functioning of aquatic ecosystems, organisms and biodiversity in response to environmental changes including climate change (air and water temperature, climates simulations in real time, light, organic matter, salinity, air CO2 content) and biodiversity. The macrocosms are currently used for a long-term experiment focusing on interactive effects of bottom-up and top-down control mechanisms in freshwater ecosystems. Some of the outdoor mesocosms were also used for short-term experiments funded by France and Europe, including a new experiment focusing on climate warming and the brownification of lakes and several TNA projects funded by the AQUACOSM+ project.

The platform is also equipped with cutting-edge analytical facilities and laboratories that can support research in studying the biotic and abiotic conditions of water samples from the aquatic platform. The analytical facilities include a flow cytometer for analysis of microbial and algal communities, spectrophotometers, a nutrient analysers and DOC/TOC analysers. The staff is also capable of designing sensor solutions on demand for the need of external users.

For more information:

(1) Verdier, B., Jouanneau, I., Simonnet, B., Rabin, C., Van Dooren, T.J.M., Delpierre, N., Clobert, J., Abbadie, L., Ferrière, R. & Le Galliard, J.-F. (2014) Climate and Atmosphere Simulator for Experiments on Ecological Systems in Changing Environments. Environmental Science & Technology, 48, 8744–8753.


On July 2, 2021

Submitted on October 20, 2021

Updated on October 20, 2021