The EcoLaboratory is an experimental research platform utilizing mesocosms to understand the environmental challenges of the 21st Century, such as climate change and pollution, through experimentation and the application of new environmental technologies. The facility has been developed as part of a £1.2M investment by the University of Birmingham in new initiatives in geographical and environmental science research and teaching.
A mesocosm (meso- or 'medium' and -cosm 'world') is an outdoor experimental system (e.g. artificial stream, pond or soil system) that examines the natural environment under controlled conditions. Mesocosm studies bridge the realism of field surveys and control and replicability of laboratory experiments, and provide opportunities to test the effect of stressors and change on complex environmental systems experimentally.
The EcoLaboratory is located on the University campus and contains >100 outdoor mesocosms with monitoring and analytical equipment and on-site modular laboratory to help interdisciplinary researchers better understand the physical, chemical and biological impacts of current and future environmental change on the environment.
Array of 24 linear flumes
Flow delivery and control
Array of 96 recirculating flumes