Legal name of organisation
University of Canberra
Organisation address

Institute for Applied Ecology, Faculty of Science and Technology

University of Canberra, Bruce, ACT, 2617, Australia

Primary contact information (PI)

Jon Bray

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Ben Kefford

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Years of Mesocosm Experiments
2016 to present
Description of Facility

The system consists of 32 independent circular freshwater mesocosms each of 1000 L capacity. They can be used either with flowing water i.e. a stream mesocosm (using a pump in each mesocosm to create the flow) or as a pond mesocosm (without the pump). The mesocosms are re-circulating (i.e. non-flow through). A float value ensures that any water lost through evaporation is replaced.

Controlled Parameters

Controlled parameters are experiment dependent. Experiments to date have manipulated: salinity, the proportions of major ions (i.e. the ions that make up salinity), nutrients (N and P), sedimentation, pesticide concentration and sources of biota.

Research Topics
Facility location(s)
-35.23511, 149.086653
Primary interests

Examination of multiple stressors in freshwaters.

Specialist areas

Effects of multiple physico-chemical stressors such as: salinity (major ions), pesticides nutrients and sediment. Role of biotic interactions in altering effects of chemicals.


Consists of 32 fully independent mesocosms each of 1000 L capacity with mains electricity supply for an electric submersible pump (1400 L/hr). Each mesocosm is plumbed into dechlorinated Canberra tap water.


Commercially available nearby.

Source of Information

Bray, J. P., J. Reich, S. J. Nichols, G. Kon Kam King, R. Mac Nally, R. Thompson, A. O’Reilly-Nugent & B. J. Kefford, 2019. Biological interactions mediate context and species-specific sensitivities to salinity. Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society of London B 374(1764): 20180020. doi:

Photos of experiments/installations
Credit: Jon Bray
Credit: Jon Bray
Credit: Alica Tschierschke