A unique mesocosm research facility to study enhanced silicate weathering processes by closely simulating natural conditions
This unique mesocosm research facility enables scientists to study the potential of enhanced silicate weathering processes for coastal environments in a controlled aquatic environment closely simulating natural conditions.
Each mesocosm can be modified to accommodate different treatments such as defaunated and faunated sediments, the addition of olivine versus control treatments, and endless other treatments. Each mesocosm can replicate approximately 1 m2 of seafloor which can be monitored continuously and/or sampled intermittently as needed both for water as well as sediment biogeochemistry and biology.
The recirculation of water enables the study of weathering processes over time. Accumulation series of the carbonate system, nutrients as well as the trace metal build-up in the overlying water can be regularly sampled and analyzed.
Using this approach, scientists can gain a better understanding of how certain factors from “the real world” will have to be accounted for in any future up-scaling projects of the technology.
Technical specifications of tanks currently available:
- Six tanks have been running as experiments since 2013, fourteen more tanks are in preparation now (2021).
- Each tank consists of two reservoirs and is filled with approx. 600 L in total.
- Sediment depth is approx. 40 cm
- Each tank replicates approx. 1 m2 of seafloor
- Continuous monitoring of temperature and salinity is currently available, but will be expanded to include pH and oxygen. The platform is also open to any other sensors as needed.
Sample analysis can be immediately carried out at the following laboratories:
Marine Station Ostend (VLIZ)
The Marine Station Ostend (MSO) comprises multifunctional laboratories, provides storage capacity for scientific equipment and has space for public activities.
ICOS Belgium (at VLIZ)
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