Ecotron Européen Montpellier, Microcosms platform


Enclosed Ecosystem Platform

Parent institution: CNRS, Institute of Ecology and Environment
Active since 2014
Active through all year

Co-located with

  • ICOS

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 Microcosms platform consists of 12 identical and independent controlled environment growth chambers. These growth chambers can host a variety of microcosms (cages with insects, plants in pots, incubation vials, petri dishes, etc.).

The Location

Country: France

Latitude: 43.681667

Longitude: 3.876389

Nearest town: Montferrier-sur-Lez

Distance from neaerst town: 2 km

Relevant Research Questions

The Microcosms platform of the Montpellier Ecotron has the flexibility to address challenging questions in the fields of ecology, organisms, population and community ecology, biodiversity, agronomy and geosciences. 


The 12 chambers can host a very large number of microcosms and can be used to set up factorial designs with multiple crossed factors. Measurements of CO2-NEE are possible using integrated LICOR automatic gas exchange chambers. Isotopic labelling and elevated CO2 treatments are possible. The experiments benefit from a full time engineer to develop and support the experiments.


No gas exchange measurements at the chamber level is currently possible. Negative temperatures cannot be simulated.

Experimental Capabilities

Experimental Facilities

2 other platforms (Macrocosms and Mesocosms)

Experiments duration: Weeks, Months;

Experimental Aerea

Total area: 12 m²

Microcosms of various sizes can be used. For soil/litter microcosms, up to 100 microcosms can be inserted in each growth chamber.

Available area: 12 m²

Experimental Unit Size

unit size: 1 m²


Replicates number: 12

Temporary storage

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

Available Instruments

  • Spectrometer (Jaz Ocean Optics)
  • Sunshine sensor (BF5DeltaT), line quantum sensor (LiCor)
  • Hot wire anemometer (Ahlborn)
  • SunScan (DeltaT)
  • Portable Gaz exchange system (LiCor 6400)
  • Pressure chambers (PMS Instrument)
  • Porometer 5SC1 Decagon)
  • 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
  • Incident PAR

Spot Measured

  • Phenology
  • Soil water content
  • Soil temperature

Environmental Pressures

Variable Ecosystem Status
Warming Forest Planned
CO2 Agrosystem Planned
CO2 Grassland Active
Warming Grassland Planned
Soileutroph Grassland Planned
CO2 Shrubland Planned
Soileutroph Shrubland Planned

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