• RS-Mesocosms
  • Aquatic Mesocosms

    RS-Meso-smMesocosm is a general term for an experimental tool that allows a small part of the natural environment to be emulated under controlled experimental conditions, allowing scientists to conduct unique studies. NGRREC’s mesocosms provide a place to roughly simulate river conditions so studies can be completed to further our understanding of river organisms, hydrology, and the transport of sediment and nutrients.

    The Field Station’s three concrete mesocosms are each 50 feet long by 12 feet wide and can be supplied with Mississippi River water at a rate of up to 4 million gallons per day. The river water is unfiltered so that it contains intact planktonic communities, suspended sediments and nutrient concentrations identical to those of the Mississippi River.

    Each of the three mesocosms can be set up in multiple ways, including standing ponds, independent raceway channels (50 feet long by 6 feet wide), meandering channels, or other configurations a researcher might desire.

    Researchers can submit project proposals to gain use of the mesocosms. 

    Proposals should consider the relevance of the project in relation to the NGRREC research mission. Topics with clear relevance to environmental or ecological concerns are particularly welcomed.

    Preference will be given to projects that utilize the unique features of this facility; to studies that are collaborative in nature; to the significance of the problem being addressed; and to the overall feasibility and relevance of the research. Examples might include:

    • Macroinvertebrates
    • Dissolved oxygen / temperature
    • Hydrology
    • Sediment and nutrient transport
    • Aquatic organisms – Growth, behavior

    Download a Mesocosm Request Form. Please note, to complete the form digitally, you must first download the form.

    Check out the Mesocosm Studies Program: Project Descriptions to learn about current research.


    Please see the schedule below for availability.

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  • Contact

    Ted Kratschmer, Field Station and Special Projects Manager

    One Confluence Way
    East Alton, IL 62024

    Phone: (618) 468-2874