Ecotron Européen Montpellier

Mesocosms platform


Enclosed Ecosystem Platform

Parent institution: CNRS, Institute of Ecology and Environment
Active since 2018
Active through all year

Fields of study

  • Atmospheric chemistry and physics
  • Isotopic chemistry
  • Climatology, Climate Change
  • Environmental sciences, Pollution
  • Soil science
  • Microbiology
  • Hydrology
  • Terrestrial biology, Ecology

Contact Information

Milcu, Alexandru

The Mesocosms platform consists of 18 independent controlled environment units installed on a 700 m² open-air terrace, with adjacent technical rooms for measuring instruments and automatic loggers.

The Location

Country: France

Latitude: 43.68166667

Longitude: 3.876389

Nearest town: Montferrier-sur-Lez

Distance from neaerst town: 2 km

Relevant Research Questions

The Mesocosms platform is a versatile experimental facility that can address a wide range of challenging questions in the fields of ecology, climate change, organisms, population, community biology, biodiversity, agronomy and geosciences.


The uniqueness of the facility resides in its capacity to realistically simulate a wide range of climatic conditions while simultaneously measuring (automatically) numerous ecosystem-level processes (CO2-NEE,GPP, Reco, NEP, evapotranspiration, etc.), N2O and CH4 emissions. Isotopic labelling and tracing is also possible. Future and pre-industrial atmospheric CO2 concentrations can be simulated.


Relatively low number of expeirmental units (only 18).

Experimental Capabilities

Experimental Facilities

2 other platforms (Macrocosms and Microcosms)

Experiments duration: Weeks, Months, Years;

Experimental Aerea

Total area: 18 m²

Available area: 18 m²

Experimental Unit Size

unit size: 1 m²

300 cm Height that includes soil depth plus canopy height


Replicates number: 18

Temporary storage

  • Dark room
  • Drying oven
  • Freeze drier
  • Freezer
  • Liquid N
  • Refrigerator
  • Other

Available Instruments

  • Spectrometer (Jaz Ocean Optics)
  • Hot wire anemometer (Ahlborn)
  • Sunscan (DeltaT)
  • Portable gas exchange system (LiCor 6400)
  • Pressure chambers (PMS Instrument)
  • Porometer (Decagon SC1)
  • Bench belt leaf area meter (LI3100-C LiCor)
  • Data loggers (Campbell CR211)
  • Delta V Plus (ThermoFisher Scientific) Isotope Ratio Mass Spectrometer

Electricity available on site.

Distance from Laboratory facilities


Years measured:


Mean Temperature: 13.9 °C

February Mean Temperature: 8 °C

July Mean Temperature: 22.3 °C


Mean Annual Speed: 14 m/s

Max. Annual Speed: m/s

Dominant Direction:


Precipitation type: Rain;

Total annual precipitation: 745 mm

Mean snow cover duration: 0 days

State Variables

Continuously Measured

  • Air humidity
  • Air temperature
  • Atmospheric pressure
  • Incident PAR
  • Soil temperature
  • Soil water content

Spot Measured

  • Canopy temperature
  • Fluorescence
  • Phenology
  • Species richness

Environmental Pressures

Variable Ecosystem Status
Precip Forest Active
Biodiversity Forest Active

On site Staff and Accomodation

Peak season staff

No on-site staff.

Off season staff

No on-site staff.

Visiting personnel

No visitors allowed.

No beds on site

Showers on site

Showers on site

No laundry on site