Experimental Streams Facility (ESF)

Experimental Streams Facility (ESF)
Legal name of organisation
ICRA (Catalan Institute for Water Research)
Organisation address

ICRA Catalan Institute for Water Research

Carrer Emili Grahit 101

17003 Girona


Primary contact information (PI)

Vicenç Acuña

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Years of Mesocosm Experiments
2012 - present
Description of Facility

The facility has 24 artificial streams, divided into 4 experimental blocks. The dimensions of each stream are 2 m long, 10 cm wide, rectangular section 50 cm2

Controlled Parameters
  • Hydraulics (0,01 to 0,1 L/s allowing 2-50 min travel time)
  • Hydraulics circulation type: recirculating or flow-through
  • Light cycles and light intensity
  • Water temperaure values and cycles
  • Air temperature (from 4-40ºC)
  • Air humidity
  • Chlorine concentration
  • Dissolved oxygen
Research Topics

Broadly speaking, research at the ESF deals with ecology or eco-toxicology. In regards to ecology, we are mainly interested in the effects of flow intermittency and temperature, whereas the main ecotoxicological topics are multi-stressor effects. In this direction, we often work with emerging contaminants effects, bioaccumulation, biodegradation, and biomagnification.

Facility location(s)
41.967303, 2.840650
Primary interests

Ecological research:

  • What’s the relationship between intermittency temporal extent on stream ecosystem processes?
  • Will warmer nights cause a shift towards heterotrophy?
  • How relevant are heatwaves in shaping stream communities?
  • Does intermittency influence the length of trophic invertebrate chains?

Ecotoxicological research:

  • What’s the interaction between physical stressors such as water stress during droughts and chemical stress by pharmaceuticals?
  • Does biodegradation of pharmaceuticals depend on temperature?
  • Is bioaccumulation of pharmaceuticals in biofilms and inverts depend solely on exposure?
Specialist areas

Stream ecology and freshwater ecotoxicology

  • Climate chamber with temperature and humidity control
  • Rainwater harvesting, storage and conditioning for experiments
  • 24 experimental stream channels
  • 36 LED lights (Lightech, Girona, Spain)
  • 4 quantum sensors (LI-192SA, LiCOR Inc, Lincoln, USA)
  • 4 cryo-compact circulator (Julabo CF-31, Seelbach, Germany)
  • 12 Temperature data loggers VEMCO Minilog (TR model, AMIRIX Systems Inc, Halifax, NS, Canada)
  • 4 peristaltic pump (IPC pump, Ismatec,Switzerland)

in private accommodation in the vicinity

Photos of experiments/installations
Photo credit: Vicenç Acuña
Photo credit: Vicenç Acuña