+ 33 4 34 35 98 94 ecotron@cnrs.fr
Analytical equipments
We are constantly improving the equipment available for ecotron experiments

Vegetation characteristics

The Ecotron has instruments to characterise the vegetation (non-exhaustive list) :

  • Leaf gas exchange and chlorophyll fluorescence
  • Water content
  • Stomatal conductance
  • Leaf area
  • LAI
  • Leaf surface temperature
  • Chlorophyll content of leaves…

Environmental sensors

Numerous sensors are available to characterize the environmental variables of the experiments: Climatic and meteorological measurements:

  • Air temperature and relative humidity
  • Absolute and differential pressure
  • Wind velocity
  • Light radiation (PAR, Spectrum, Flickering, Mapping)

Soil parameter measurements :  

  • Soil temperature and moisture
  • Soil water potential
  • Water balance: continuous measurement of lysimeter mass
  • Measurement of gas concentration (CO2, N2O) at different depths…

Web-based platform for managing experiments and databases

The LIAISON web interface, linked to an instrumentation management software and to experimental databases, allows you to :

  • Submit your research project and follow the validation steps
  • Translate and formalise your needs (type of ecosystem, experimental conditions,
  • Selecting and reserving the equipment necessary for the conditioning of the samples and for the measurements carried out on the ecosystems
  • Plan all interventions during the experiment.
  • Provide access to all raw and pre-processed experimental data.
  • To share and valorise the knowledge acquired during the successive experiments.


Laboratory and packaging areas

The Ecotron provides research teams with laboratories equipped to prepare experiments, perform simple analyses and condition fresh samples. These areas contain :

  • Workbenches
  • Hood
  • Small laboratory equipment (pipettes, glassware, etc.)
  • Ovens
  • Scales
  • Freezers -80°C and -20°C
  • Freeze dryer
  • Cold room (5°C – 10m²)H
  • Liquid Nitrogen

Prototyping workshop

To create unique parts that meet the specific needs of experiments, the Ecotron has a prototyping workshop

  • Milling machine
  • Various tools

Production and distribution of decarbonated air

(CO2 concentration < 1ppm – dew point of -60°C – flow rate of 980m3/h) The Ecotron is equipped with a decarbonated air production and distribution line that supplies the Mesocosms and Microcosms platforms. This fluid makes it possible to recreate pre-industrial atmospheres (CO2 concentration < 200ppm) or, on the contrary, atmospheres very rich in CO2. The isotopic signature of the injected industrial CO2(13C), to obtain the desired concentration level, is very different from that in the atmosphere. This process allows for continuous isotopic labelling of experiments.

Production and distribution of osmosis water

The Ecotron is equipped with an osmosis water production system that supplies the 3 experimental platforms (Macrocosms, Mesocosms and Microcosms) as well as the laboratories The production process is divided into three stages

  • The first is to remove limescale from the water supply (TH> 35°f). This process consists of a filtration device and two softeners with their cation exchange resin columns.
  • The second consists of obtaining water that is practically solute-free via the principle of reverse osmosis. The permeate thus obtained is “pure water” with a conductivity of less than 5µS.
  • Finally, the third stage consists of the disinfection and storage of the “pure water” produced. In a 3000L stainless steel tank, an ozone sky (30-60 ppb) is maintained to ensure a contaminant-free atmosphere for the water.

  At the start of the distribution network for the experimental cells, a UV lamp (240nm) destroys the ozone molecules in the water.

For more information on our current projects

Macroscosms, Mesocosms, Microscosms

Our other experimental platforms