University of Antwerp MESODROME
Legal name of organisation
University of Antwerp
Organisation address

University of Antwerp, Dep. Biology

Universiteitsplein 1

2610 Wilrijk


Primary contact information (PI)

Ronny Blust

Years of Mesocosm Experiments
Module I fully functional, Module II (Drie Eiken Flume) epected in 2019
Description of Facility

The mesocosm facility at Drie Eiken (figure 1) consists of two modules. Module I holds 16 cylindrical ponds 2 m wide on 1.2 m deep (water depth), module II is equipped with 4 oblong raceways, each 2 x 5 m long (the water circulates around a mid-section) and 80 cm deep (water depth). The raceways are temperature controlled and allow accurate flow control. They are equipped with windows for easy monitoring of organismal behavior and/or plant stature. Module II also houses the larger flume facility (black box in figure 2, see also § 3.2 Flume facility Drie Eiken). Additionally module II holds aquaculture infrastructure for fish stocking. Both modules are integrated in a 1000 m² greenhouse. In module I the roof can be completely opened as to expose the ponds to the elements, whenever necessary in the experimental setup, module II has a classical greenhouse setup. The latter module also integrates a small wet lab facility for basic lab work, e.g. dissections, determinations, microscopy, weighing, etc.

Controlled Parameters

Water quality & depth

Pollution concentration (water & sediment)

Flow and temperature in river systems

Research Topics
  • Stress related changes in ecosystems at multiple levels of biological organization.
  • Bioavailability and effects of sediment-bound pollutants
  • The toxicity of mixtures on aquatic communities
  • Interactions between pollutant and predator stress in aquatic food chains
  • Validation of transcriptomics and proteomics derived biomarkers
  • Long term studies on global change related issues
  • Feeding and continuous exercise in fish physiology

Biological-geomorphological interactions in tidal wetlands

Facility location(s)
Primary interests
Specialist areas

All facilities are equipped with all necessary (remote) sensors and loggers, e.g. flux meters, dissolved oxygen, temperature, turbidity, pH, conductivity, … The greenhouse itself has full climate monitoring and (limited) temperature control during winter time. The dimensions and structure of the greenhouse allow for future extension of the aquatic infrastructure including compartmentalization of the housing for full climate control (including atmosphere). The complete system is supported by a water treatment facility to allow environmental friendly effluent control and disposal.


Nearby in private accommodation

Photos of experiments/installations
Credit: Eric Struyf