Researchers are welcome to test new techniques in the marine mesocosm facility

Gepubliceerd op
14 november 2013

IMARES Wageningen UR is looking for researchers who are interested in testing/demonstrating the applicability of their new biomarker techniques, in controlled, replicated marine semi field experiments we perform in our Marine mesocosm facility at IMARES.

Experimental ecosystems

At IMARES (before 2006 under the name of TNO) we gained years of experience with research in experimental marine ecosystems (mesocosms). In recent years we performed mesocosm studies in order to assess the environmental impact of heavy metals, elevated CO2 concentrations, and biocide-treated ballast water on a marine ecosystem.

mesocosm alone.jpg

Our 32 mesocosms are outdoor tanks with a volume approaching 4 m3, filled with a natural sediment layer and natural seawater containing a natural planktonic, microbial, and meiobenthic community. Larger macro invertebrates are added in known densities. Following specific critical procedures we are able to create stable ecosystems in individual mesocosms that are well replicated. An average study starts with about 18 of such replicated mesocosms, over which triplicated treatments are distributed. Development/response of the ecosystem is monitored for a 2 to 6 month period following start of the treatments.

Apart from their recognized value in ecotoxicological research, mesocosms form a great opportunity to test the applicability of new methods and techniques in environmental research.

We are looking for you

We are especially interested in the potential of biomarkers, metabolomics and other “-omics” approaches to determine and understand the impact of stressors on a (part of) marine ecosystems. Are you working with these or with other techniques that you feel can be useful for this, and are you interested to test or demonstrate the applicability of this technique in a mesocosm study? Please fill in the application form. For more information you can send a message to


We cannot promise you anything, but if your technique seems promising we will contact you when a mesocosm study is planned that suites the needs of your application. We will than ask you to draft a proposal of how you want to apply your techniques and what you would need, so we can include that in our mesocosm study-design. If we feel that your work does not interfere with the basic goal of our mesocosm study, and hopefully even could add to it, we will invite you to conduct the work during our study.

No costs, no funding

Our mutual interest in the application and potential of your technique forms the driver behind this corporation. You will not be charged for working at our mesocosm, or laboratory facilities. You only need to finance the costs you make yourself for traveling, housing, and the materials that you use.

Ownership of results

During the study we will monitor at least the basic development in the mesocosms (physic-chemical water characteristics, zoo- and phytoplankton community, and survival, growth and reproduction of macro invertebrates). These data will be made available.

The results that you obtain in our mesocosms remain yours at all times. The only restriction is that if the results are being published or presented (what we strongly encourage) the IMARES mesocosm test facility should be mentioned and IMARES will provide one co-author. In addition, when your techniques would provide interesting additional results to our study, we could discuss the opportunity of you becoming co-author on our publication.

In this way we all would make optimal use of the often costly mesocosm studies.