Approaches und Facilities

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SystemLink conducts research at the site scale using unique mesocosm facilities (Floodplain or riparian stream mesocosms). This work is complemented either by landscape scale (joint multiple riparian sites) or by batch scale work (joint pot experiment).

Scales

 

Site scale

Floodplain Mesocosms (FPM)

At the Eusserthal Ecosystem Research Station (EERES, about 20 km west of Landau) of the UKL, 12 Floodplain Mesocosms (FPM), each 21 m x 7 m x 1 m (water volume; approximately 25 m3) have been created particularly for SystemLink. They will be used to set up an experimental riparian transition zone in which different parameters (inundation regime, invasive plant species) will be manipulated over the first three years of SystemLink supporting collaborations of several doctoral projects.

Coordination: Andreas Lorke & Mirco Bundschuh

 

Riparian Stream Mesocosms (RSM)

Close to the river Queich in the eastern part of Landau, 16 replicated experimental riparian stream mesocosms (RSM) will be used particularly by SystemLink. Each mesocosm contains an artificial stream channel (about 10 m long, 50 cm wide and 10 cm deep). The surrounding terrestrial habitat is covered by a 1-mm mesh gauze on all sides including the roof leading to a dimension of each mesocosm of about 15 x 6 x 2 m). This results in 16 independent replicates, in which studies focusing on emerging aquatic and terrestrial insects and their interaction with terrestrial predators, i.e. spiders, are conducted involving several doctoral projects.

Coordination: Ralf Schulz & Jochen Zubrod

  

Landscape scale

A total of 20 joint stream sections will be studied forming a gradient of water pollution according to upstream land-use. To avoid confounding effects of local land-use on the terrestrial ecosystem, all sections will be selected within near-natural surrounding habitats (riparian forest). Depending on the hypothesis of the respective doctoral project, a different subset of streams will be studied, and multiple sampling sites may be established within each stream section.

Coordination: Martin Entling & Ralf Schäfer

 

Batch scale

As a third scale, with the main intention to evaluate varying levels of the anthropogenic stress (fungicides and invasive species), fully-controlled batch-scale experiments will be performed: joint Pot Experiments (joint PE), accompanied by different artificial laboratory or outdoor microcosms, largely situated at the iES in Landau. In order to study the response of terrestrial plants and associated organisms to variable inputs from aquatic systems under standardised conditions, we will use terrestrial microcosms of approximately 1 m2 ground surface within a joint PE. A food web consisting of native terrestrial plants with its associated herbivores (leafhoppers, weevils) and spiders as predator will be employed.

Coordination: Eva Kröner & Verena Rösch

  

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