MOBICOS at the Elbe river.
A MOBICOS container at the River Elbe in Magdeburg, Germany.

MOBICOS – Experimental aquatic ecology in a box

The empirical analysis of ecological interactions always presents scientists with a number of difficulties: while laboratory essays usually coincide with a loss in naturalness and complexity, field studies are often impaired by limited control options. The new experimental facility MOBICOS operated by the Helmholtz Center for Environmental Research – UFZ bridges this gap by merging the opportunities of experimental manipulation and replication with the naturalness of field studies.

MOBICOS consists of container-based laboratories operated as bypasses to natural water bodies using submerged pumps. Different experimental facilities such as flow channels, pelagic chambers or sediment compartments are fed with a controlled discharge of field water. This allows a wide spectrum of experimental manipulations such as resource supplementations, temperature alterations and/or hydraulic modifications, whereas the latter environmental background remains unchanged. Six MOBICOS containers are currently exposed along a land use gradient within the Bode catchment (Harz, Germany), thus facilitating experimental studies on the effects of anthropogenic-induced environmental changes on freshwater ecosystems.

For further details please contact the project coordinator at the Helmholtz-Center for Environmental Research – UFZ.