MOBICOS - Mobile Aquatic Mesocosms

Short description:

MOBICOS (Mobile Aquatic Mesocosms) is a mobile water research platform and consists of mobile containers which can be positioned beside surface waters and which enable investigations and seminatural experiments.

Major research issues/sites:

The empirical analysis of ecological interactions poses a challenge for modern water research. While laboratory essays usually coincide with a loss in naturalness and complexity, field studies are often impaired by limited control options. The new MOBICOS running water laboratories bridge this gap by adding the opportunity of experimental manipulation and replication to the naturalness of field studies. Usage of field water bypasses for ecological experiments facilitates the cultivation and manipulation of even complex ecological communities.

Current research topics in MOBICOS address the ecological impacts of anthropogenic induced environmental changes such as habitat fragmentation, land use and climatic changes.

Short technical description:

MOBICOS consists of laboratory containers (6 x 3 m), which can be operated either individually or assembled to larger container units. Field water is continually pumped into MOBICOS and distributed to different experimental devices such as pelagic chambers, flow channels and aquaria. This forms the starting point for a wide spectrum of experimental manipulations such as resource supplementations, temperature alterations or hydraulic modifications, whereas the latter environmental background remains unchanged. In addition to routine measurements of basic biological (e.g. planktonic bacteria, microalgae) and hydrochemical (e.g. temperature, pH, nutrients) parameters, MOBICOS facilitates live measurements of biological production parameters such as respiration, cell counts and matter fluxes.

Specific features/uniqueness:

Due to the container-based design, MOBICOS adds a high degree in mobility and flexibility to the rationale of running water laboratories. The entire infrastructure consists of six MOBICOS containers exposed on different field sites that mirror increasing gradients of anthropogenic disturbance (e.g. land use, habitat fragmentation, nutrient inputs).

Options and conditions for visiting scientists:

Need to be determined.

centre running the infrastructure:

UFZ - Helmholtz Centre for Environmental Research

type of facility:

Research platforms , Experimental facilities


  • UFZ - Helmholtz Centre for Environmental Research
  • Phone: +49 341 235-0