L&O Special Issue – Mesocosms: bridging the gap between in-situ and laboratory studies

L&O Special Issue – Mesocosms: bridging the gap between in-situ and laboratory studies

In a rapidly changing world, it is crucial that we examine the responses of aquatic organisms across the scales of individuals, communities, and trophic levels, on time scales relevant for responses to environmental change. Laboratory studies allow us to develop mechanistic understandings on individual organisms or groups thereof but are often limited in their ecological realism. In situ observations yield important information on environments in their current state but cannot be easily manipulated or investigated through experiments. Mesocosms can close the gap by permitting the isolation of communities of interest ex situ or in situ to study the response of these communities to environmental, biological, chemical, or ecological drivers.

Examples of mesocosm set-ups used during aquatic research © Elisa Schaum, Christian Pansch-Hattich, Steeve Comeau

In the last decade, renewed interest in small-scale mesocosm, large-scale mesocosm, or in situ mesocosm (enclosure) experiments (Fig. 1) have provided new insights into complex mechanisms such as ecological cascading effects and species interactions. Recently, mesocosms have proved a vital tool to study the response of aquatic communities to climate change and acidification, from coral reefs to lakes and polar ecosystems, and to address how results from individual laboratory experiments on single organisms can translate to the community scale. These tools will also be critical to assess the role that aquatic systems can play for the storage of carbon and the buffering of climate change.

In this Special Issue of Limnology and Oceanography, we welcome the submission of studies from all fields of oceanography and limnology, from ecology to biology, which rely on the use of mesocosms to go beyond experiments on single organisms to make significant advancement in the understanding of key aquatic processes. Contributions may include studies at global to local scales with broad implications across the aquatic sciences and beyond. A Virtual Issue of previously published papers relevant to the topic along with those of this Special Issue will be bound and added to the journal website collections page.

All contributions to this special issue must fit within the scope of L&O and will be assessed with the same level of rigor as regular journal contributions. Accepted papers will be published in Early View (online version of record before inclusion in an issue), with a permanent and citable DOI upon acceptance. The complete Special Issue will be bound for Fall 2025. For more information, manuscript proposal, or inquiries on the suitability of your work, please contact one of the Deputy Editors: Steeve Comeau, [email protected], Elisa Schaum, [email protected] and Julia Mullarney, [email protected].

Guest Editors:

Christopher Cornwall ; Victoria University of Wellington
Christian Pansch-Hattich ; Åbo Akademi University
Maren Striebel ; Universität Oldenburg
Jens Nejstgaard ; Leibniz Institute of Freshwater Ecology and Inland Fisheries

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