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A national infrastructure in ecology/agronomy/environmental sciences

The Ecotrons is an official Research Infrastructure of the CNRS still under construction but some of our exceptional facilities are already operational. It is also listed on the roadmap of Research Infrastructure from the French Ministry of Research. Each partner of the research infrastructure Ecotrons is located in one of the areas with the highest concentration of laboratories in ecology, agronomy and environment in France. The “Conseils régionaux” of Languedoc-Roussillon and Ile-de-France invest significant funding in ecology in these areas and in the development of Ecotrons in particular.

The type of environmental control provided, the size and the type of ecosystem studied (terrestrial versus aquatic), and the measurement capacity all ensure the complementarities of the two partners of this infrastructure:

  • The Ecotron of Montpellier is located on the Baillarguet campus nearby Montpellier and consists of a building of 2000 m² which houses three experimental platforms ranging from large to small natural model ecosystems: macrocosms, mesocosms and microcosms. The first two platforms are designed for terrestrial ecosystems to study the ecology and bio-geochemistry of atmosphere-soil-plant interactions. The last platform is dedicated to the study of plants, herbivores, fungi organisms or population responses as well as soil/litter processes and model ecosystems.
  • The Ecotron IIeDefrance is located in Saint-Pierre-lès-Nemours at the CEntre Experimental Research in Ecology and Predictive (CEREEP). It consists of a research building of 1000 m2, a platform of 12 climate chambers (called Ecolabs) and several aquatic microcosms, as well as analytical instruments dedicated to water samples. Equipments allow the detailed simulation of climatic environments in artificial conditions for ecological and evolutionary studies on small terrestrial and aquatic ecosystems.