Station d'Ecologie Théorique et Expérimentale du CNRS-Université Paul Sabatier


Enclosed Ecosystem Platform

Parent institution: CNRS
Active since 2021
Active through All year

Fields of study

  • Climatology, Climate Change
  • Environmental sciences, Pollution
  • Soil science
  • Terrestrial biology, Ecology
  • Limnology

Contact Information

Blanchet, Simon

Richard, Murielle

There are 3 research platforms at the facility.

Platform lentic 1) This includes 144 tanks, 2 m3 each. Tanks can be connected to each other to allow for the dispersal of aquatic organisms (i.e. aquatic corridors). A subset (currently 36) will be covered by an aerial mesh that will allow to connect/disconnect them via an aerial corridor. Another subset (36) has a cooling element that will allow for temperature manipulations. Heating can be used (potentially) in all the platform using portable heaters. This platform is connected to the supervision.

Platform lentic 2: This includes 150 tanks, 1.3 m3, and 72 small tanks, 350 liters each. These are not connected and no temperature regulation is provided yet at this site.

Platform lotic (3): This one includes research facilities for 12 rivers (4m long, 80cm depth, 45cm wide) with variable flow and water levels that can be regulated. Plants can de deployed at the margins (20 cm in each side along the river). All the platforms can use water derived from the river Lez, and this water can be used directly, filtered, and/or sterilised by UV.

The Location

Country: France

Latitude: 42.95838889

Longitude: 1.086556

Nearest town: Saint-Girons

Distance from neaerst town: 5 km

Relevant Research Questions

The interplay between spatial dynamics, evolutionary dynamics and biodiversity at all levels of organization is key to predict ecosystem functioning in both the short and long term research. This will be done in a global change context, allowing to simultaneously investigate the effects of warming (or cooling) and habitat fragmentation (reduced dispersal). This will be done in a meta-ecosystems framework, in which ecosystems can exchange fluxes and materials.


Lentic patches will be connected by aquatic and aerial corridors that can be flexibly open or closed which allow species to freely migrate from one environment to another. Climatic and chemical conditions will be recorded and manipulated. The simultaneous modification of both habitat structure and temperature is unique worldwide. The supervision of platforms 1 (and maybe 3) allows for continuous measurements of ecosystem-level properties.


Large aquatic organisms (big fish) cannot be used. Supervision can be improved. The main limitation is permanent staff. Currently, only one permanent research assistant is fully committed to the managing and organization of the platform. More permanent staff is required for an effective and profitable functioning of the 3 platforms.

Experimental Capabilities

Experimental Facilities

Experiments duration: Weeks, Months, Years, Decades;

Experimental Aerea

Total area: 0 m²

Available area: 0 m²

Experimental Unit Size

unit size: 0 m²


Replicates number: 0

Cross-Ecosystem Manipulation

The aerial, terrestrial and water ecosystems can be connected in the lotic and lentic mesocosms.

Manipulation Techniques

Temporary storage

  • Freezer
  • Liquid N
  • Drying oven
  • Freeze drier

Available Instruments

  • respirometer
  • performance measure
  • HPLC
  • Gas chromatograph
  • cell counters
  • RMI
  • Ultrasounds echograph
  • Cytometer
  • Aviaries
  • Greenhouses

Electricity available on site.

Distance from Laboratory facilities


Years measured:


Mean Temperature: °C

February Mean Temperature: °C

July Mean Temperature: °C


Mean Annual Speed: m/s

Max. Annual Speed: m/s

Dominant Direction: West


Precipitation type: Rain, Snow;

Total annual precipitation: mm

Mean snow cover duration: 0 days

State Variables

Continuously Measured

  • (aquatic) Chlorophyl
  • (aquatic) Conductivity
  • (aquatic) Oxygen content
  • (aquatic) pH
  • (aquatic) Turbidity
  • (aquatic) Water temperature
  • Air humidity
  • Air temperature
  • Atmospheric pressure
  • Incident PAR

Spot Measured

  • (aquatic) Current speed
  • (aquatic) Nutrient levels
  • Fluorescence
  • Incident PAR
  • Population densities
  • Soil temperature
  • Species richness

Environmental Pressures

Variable Ecosystem Status
Warming River Planned
Hydro River Active
Soileutroph River Active
Management - Nutrients (levels or nutrient type) River Active
Management - tilling or other physical manipulation River Active
Management - grazing (pressure or animal species) River Active
Management - species and/or ecotype combinations River Active
Habitatfrag River Active
Biodiversity River Active
Warming Lake Active
Hydro Lake Active
Watereutroph Lake Active
Management - Nutrients (levels or nutrient type) Lake Active
Management - grazing (pressure or animal species) Lake Active
Management - species and/or ecotype combinations Lake Active
Management - traditional (or native) vs. new (or non-native) species Lake Active
Habitatfrag Lake Active
Biodiversity Lake Active

On site Staff and Accomodation

Peak season staff

Up to 100 people

Off season staff

Up to 60 people

Visiting personnel

No visitors allowed.

No beds on site

Showers on site

Showers on site

Laundry on site

Laundry on site