Collaborate with us on an experimental test of the spatial insurance hypothesis

AQUACOSM enables us to invite external researchers to collaborate with us on the research outlined below (see How to get involved, below). Depending on positive evaluation of your application, AQUACOSM covers your travel and accomodation for the time of the experiment,as well as local resources (lab space, consumables etc). Please dont hesitate contacting us for questions or support with the proposal. Ind applications guidlines here (pdf).

slide_eggers_alIn the experiment scheduled for june-July 2018, we want to test the spatial insurance hypothesis in a mesocosm experiment, where we expose natural plankton communities to a connectivity x heat disturbance treatment (C x H).

Mesocosm will be inoculated with natural plankton communities. Connectivity to a regional species pool will be manipulated by regular additions of water from natural lakes to +C treatments, while -C treatment receive no further dispersal. An intermittent heat wave will be induced by heating +H mesocosms 5°C for one week, -H treatments will stay with ambient temperature.

In a previous experiment we could show that plankton communities in mesocosms respond sensitively to connectivity even without disturbance (Fig. below).

Hypotheses: By involving a disturbance treatment, we want to test if (a) disturbance-induced community turnover is sensitive to connectivity and (b) resilience depends on connectivity (resilience will be monitored in terms of biomass accrual over time in different functional groups, esp. phyto- and zooplankton).

How to get involved: We would especially welcome to collaborators interested in BEF relationships of plankton communities, but also microbial/molecular diversity. As ciliatesturned out to be highly sensitive to manipulation of connectivity in a previous experiment, we would also welcome experts on micrograzers. And of course we are open for suggestions reg topics not included by now. Depending on your state of career, you can participate as a trainee or researcher, team or individual.



Fig. 2: Effects of connectivity (C) on taxon richness of bacteria and protists in a previous mesocosm experiment. Richness of +C treatments (y-axis) plotted against richness in -C treatments (x-axis). (Bengtsson, Eggers et al in prep.)


New course: Zooplankton ecology

Radka developed and organized a brand new BOKU block course ‘Zooplankton taxonomy and ecology’, held at BSL between 12.-16.6. 2017.


The course included lectures on taxonomy and ecology overview of all three main groups of freshwater zooplankton (cladocerans, copepods, rotifers), followed by practical exercises in basic methods of field sampling and samples processing, microscopy and determination, with valuable contributions of colleagues Miloslav Devetter, Michal Šorf, and Adam Petrusek from Czechia.




New FWF project!

Radka won a three-year FWF project, entitled “Is Bythotrephes not invasive at home due to prey adaptation?”, returning with that to a research of her lovely bug ‘spiny water flea’, this time in part of Bythotrephes’s home range, in Austrian Alpine lakes.

The project is going to be co-financed at it is half thanks to a program “Matching Funds” through Lower Austria government, and run in collaboration with Jens Nejstgaard (ICBM Stechlin, DE), Marc Frischer (Skidaway Institute of Oceanography, USA) and Adam Petrusek (Charles University, Prague, CZ).

Photo credit: J. Liebig, NOAA GLERL, 2001

AQUACOSM workshop in France

Robert and Christian participated in a workshop of AQUACOSM focusing on sensor systems for mesocosm research. Design and operation of an established system was demonstrated at the time-honoured Marine Biological Station at Séte, France.


Representatives from cooperating institutes (CNRS, SYKE, RF Sense, WCL) exchanged on experiences and challenges in system operation, best practice and standardisation, and discussed options for future improvements.

The beautiful Mediterranean setting and the welcoming hosts made this meeting a memorable visit for all participants.