AQUACOSM Project

From Arctic to the Mediterranean:

International network connects experimental research in European waters

 

Lakes, rivers, estuaries and oceans are closely connected. Despite this, aquatic research is still divided in marine and freshwater sciences. Now scientists from 19 leading research institutes and universities and two enterprises from 12 countries across Europe aim to change this and have joined forces in the project “AQUACOSM – Network of Leading European AQUAtic MesoCOSM Facilities Connecting Mountains to Oceans from the Arctic to the Mediterranean”. The network will perform the first systematic large-scale experiments in both freshwater and marine ecosystems. The project is coordinated and lead by Leibniz-Institute of Freshwater Ecology and Inland Fisheries (IGB).


Scientists from 19 research institutes and 2 enterprises from 12 countries across Europe have joined forces in a Network of Leading European AQUAtic MesoCOSM Facilities Connecting Mountains to Oceans from the Arctic to the Mediterranean, in short: AQUACOSM. The network will perform the first systematic large-scale experiments to compare how both freshwater and marine ecosystems respond to environmental pressures including climatic change and other effects of the growing human population. AQUACOSM will increase the understanding about complex processes controlling water ecosystems all the way from mountain lakes and rivers to coasts and oceans. A better understanding of these complex processes is urgently needed to improve predictions of our future environment and to develop plans to counteract the strong impact of human activities on one of our most important global resource: water, and the life in it. AQUACOSM will open their unique experimental mesocosm research facilities for collaboration with scientists from all over the world. Mesocosms are controlled and replicated experimental water enclosures, large enough (from ca. 1 to 1000 m3) to allow experiments on whole ecosystems in close to natural conditions. Using such mesocosms is currently the most reliable way to predict effects of future environmental and anthropogenic pressures on all the complex aquatic ecosystems. The goals of AQUACOSM are to:
  1. Establish a Network integrating scattered know-how between freshwater and marine research infrastructures to further improve mesocosm experimental approaches
  2. Promote ground-breaking developments in mesocosm and other research technology such as new high-frequency measurements and real-time data processing, to provide more accurate results.
  3. Train a new generation of scientists conducting advanced collaborative research integrating scientific disciplines across mesocosm infrastructures in Europe
  4. Offer researchers from around the world a chance to propose and test new scientific hypotheses at the world-leading European facilities. AQUACOSM will offer Transnational Access (economical support) to at least 340 scientists for more than 11,500 person-days, to collaborate and exchange ideas between scientists, enterprises and decision makers
  5. Coordinate Joint Research Activities using the latest mesocosm technologies along geographical gradients from the Arctic to the Mediterranean and across salinity boundaries to investigate aquatic ecosystem responses to multiple environmental climate-related key stressors
The AQUACOSM project started in January 2017 and will run until December 2020. It is unique in size and approach, as it combines research facilities from mountains to oceans and from the Arctic to the Mediterranean. AQUACOSM aims to inject aquatic science with new ideas, concepts and data to meet critical scientific and societal challenges of the 21st century. AQUACOSM is funded by the European Commission EU H2020-INFRAIA-project No 731065, with a Budget of 9,999,807 €.
Further information is available at www.aquacosm.eu
Contact Persons:   Dr. Jens C Nejstgaard Project Leader/Coordinator Leibniz-Institute of Freshwater Ecology and Inland Fisheries (IGB) Nejstgaard@igb-berlin.de Tel: +49 33082 699 40       Dr. Paraskevi Pitta Dissemination Coordinator Hellenic Center for Marine Research, HCMR, Greece vpitta@hcmr.gr Tel: +30 2810 337829