We use the UKCEH Aquatic Mesocosm Facility (CAMF) to disentangle how different external drivers or stressors influence the structure and function of shallow lake ecosystems. With its 35 isolated tanks, it is ideal for experiments under controlled conditions. A simple adjacent laboratory is available for storage, working space and sample preparation.
Each tank is well equipped with sensors to measure water temperature, dissolved oxygen and solar radiation. A weather station tracks air temperature, rainfall, wind speed and direction. Scientists use the site for all sorts of tests - for example, heating elements near the bottom of each 2m diameter tank can increase water temperature to investigate how climate warming will affect freshwater communities. Mixers in each tank are able to disrupt thermal stratification, and an external raw water supply is available to flush the tanks.
All data are automatically logged and transmitted to UKCEH to keep track of the experimental conditions and outcomes.