Mekjarvik Research Station

Mekjarvik Research Station
Legal name of organisation
International Research Institute of Stavanger (IRIS)
Organisation address

P. O. Box 8046, 4068 Stavanger, (mailing address)
Prof. Olav Hanssensvei 15, 4021 Stavanger (visiting address)
Telephone: (+47) 51 87 50 00
Fax: (+47) 51 87 52 00

Primary contact information (PI)

Dr. Thorleifur Agustsson:

Please login or request access to view contact information.Thorleifur.Agustsson@iris.noPlease login or request access to view contact information.

Years of Mesocosm Experiments
Description of Facility

Pelagic/Benthic and Marine/Freshwater


Facilities have been tailored for conducting studies targeting a range of marine conditions from temperate to Arctic and surface waters to deep sea. The centre includes 620 m2 of laboratories, all with access to a continuous supply of filtered seawater pumped from 80 m depth from the fjord adjacent to the laboratory. Recently fitted sophisticated heat exchange systems supply multiple seawater temperatures to support several independent experiments simultaneously or for use within single experiments facilitating multi-stressor studies.


Experimental facility divided into 2 parts (see pictures):

  • Pilot hall for large scale experiments that include pelagic enclosures of different sizes to conduct exposure studies with organisms varying from zooplankton larvae to adult fish. Additionally, benthic chambers of different sizes, each equipped with lids holding a stirrer, optodes, special injector and sampling ports are available for use in either the pilot hall or climate rooms.
  • 6 climate rooms are available for more specific incubations requiring strict regulation of both air and water temperature. Climate rooms all with control of light and temperature (-1 to +40 °C).


Controlled Parameters

Continuous supply of fresh seawater taken from the adjacent fjord below the thermocline (80 m water depth) passing through double sand filters The parameters that can be controlled (single or multiple) include:

  1. Finer filtering of incoming water (filters of different size).
  2. Multiple water temperature within a single experiment
  3. Multiple monitored range in water oxygenation within a single experiment.
  4. Multiple monitored range in water pH within a single experiment.

Multiple monitored concentration of crude oil additions (dissolved or oil droplets) in water within a single experiment.

Research Topics

At IRIS Mekjarvik Research Station, there is a strong focus on high quality laboratory exposure/manipulation experiments (pelagic and benthic mesocosm setups) aimed at understanding the impact of predicted climate change and anthropogenic activity on key pelagic and benthic players and processes in the marine and freshwater ecosystem. Research funding from the Industry, Research council of Norway and the EU.  Recently addressed research topics include:

Impact of crude oil on Cod and Salmon (Research council of Norway with National & International partners)

On the sensitivity of Krill to oil exposure (Research council of Norway with National & International partners)

Multi-Stressor (ocean acidification & temperature) experiment with Shrimp (Research council of Norway with National & International partners)

Impact of mine tailings on seafloor structure and functioning (EU & Research council of Norway, with National & International partners)

 – Impact of Crude oil on pelagic microbial biodiversity (Research council of Norway with National & International partners)

Impact of drill-cuttings on Corals & Sponges (Research council of Norway with National & International partners)

CCS: Impact of CO2 seepage behavioral traits in benthic invertebrates (Research council of Norway with National & International partners)

Facility location(s)
59.0206314, 5.6159267000000455
Primary interests
Specialist areas

The laboratory facilities of IRIS Mekjarvik Research Station provide a modern infrastructure for biological testing and analyses. Our laboratory facilities include:
Ecotoxicology, Histology, Chemistry, Proteomics, Microbiology, Molecular Biology and Microscopy/Image Analysis.

Collection of pelagic or benthic components: rental of boat with high quality sampling devices. 


No in-house lodging. Hotel rooms and rental of houses or apartments are available in the vicinity.

Source of Information

Photos of experiments/installations
Photo: Leon Moodley
Photo. Leon Moodley
Photo: Leon Moodley