Environmental Health Research Facilities
In situ Marine/Freshwater Observatories
Biological and Medical Sciences
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.
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.
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.