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Ecotron IleDeFrance (Ecotron)
Hosting Legal Entity
Self-standing RI
78 Rue du Château, CEREEP-Ecotron IleDeFrance, Saint-Pierre-Lès-Nemours, PO: 77140 (France)
Type Of RI
Coordinating Country
Current Status:
Operational since 2008
Scientific Description
The CEREEP centre coordinates Ecotron IleDeFrance, a high-technology research infrastructure allowing for experiments with terrestrial and aquatic organisms and ecosystems under highly controlled conditions to measure their functioning and sensitivity to climate change. The centre further pilots the National Experimental Platform in Aquatic Ecology (PLANAQUA), which includes a unique set of experimental units devoted to the study of the ecological functioning of lacustrine systems and ranging from the microcosm to the macrocosm.

RI Keywords
Climate, Climate chambers, Field & laboratory experiments, Aquatic ecosystem, Laboratories
RI Category
Environmental Health Research Facilities
In situ Marine/Freshwater Observatories
Biological/Biomedical Engineering and Biotechnology/Nanotechnology Research Facilities
Scientific Domain
Biological and Medical Sciences
Earth and Environmental Sciences
ESFRI Domain
Ecolab system

Each Ecolab includes a laboratory room and three identical closed environmental chambers, each of a volume around 13 m3, conditioned by independent technical bodies controlled from a centralized supervisor. At present, the Ecolab enables precise real-time programming of weather conditions (temperature, humidity, and precipitation), of the concentrations of some atmospheric gases (CO2 and O2, as well as O3 in three chambers) and of several artificial lighting conditions. It can produce climate conditions varying from cold polar environments to hot and humid tropical environment. It can regulate weather conditions accurately to simulate slow or sudden changes, and can independently change climate conditions from gas concentrations in the atmosphere. Each environmental chamber is equipped with a mesocosm to confine terrestrial or aquatic ecosystems. This mesocosm consists of a stainless steel tank with a double jacket and enables real-time control of thermal gradients in the ecosystem independently from the atmosphere. Artificial light can be provided by incandescent bulbs, plasma lamps or modular LED source depending on the research project.

Analytical platform

The Ecotron IleDeFrance offers access to a full range of instrumentation dedicated to water microbiology and bio-geochemistry that can be used for research projects on site but also for external research projects. Our analytical laboratory currently includes a flow cytometer for analysis of microbial and algal communities, a compact titration station for alkalinity measurements, a double beam spectrophotometer for liquid phase analytics, and a continuous segmented flow analyzer for accurate nutrient analytics in water samples. These instruments are dedicated to characterize the biotic and abiotic conditions of water samples from terrestrial and aquatic ecosystems. The construction of the analytical platform was financed by the ANR Equipex PLANAQUA project, the Ile-de-France Region, and the CNRS Ecotrons infrastructure.

Aquatic microcosms

Aquatic microcosms are small containers dedicated to aquatic microbial ecosystems studies from single populations to communities of bacteria, microalgae and other planktonic organisms. Currently, we have in our dedicated laboratories 13 chemostats (single glass vessels) for culturing bacteria and phytoplankton in sterile conditions and 4 double-system chemostats (paired system made out of two connected glass vessels) dedicated to the study of phyto- and zooplankton interactions and dynamics.

RI is an ESFRI project
Analysis and Experimentation on Ecosystems France
AQUAtic MesoCOSM Facilities
Date of last update: 07/08/2018