SAV Facilities & MEERC – Multi-scale Experimental Ecosystem Research Center

SAV Facilities & MEERC - Multi-scale Experimental Ecosystem Research Center
Legal name of organisation
Univerity of Maryland Center for Environmental Sciences (UMCES)
Organisation address

Univerity of Maryland Center for Environmental Sciences (UMCES)
Horns Point Laboratory
Univeristy of Maryland
5745 Lovers Lane
Cambridge, MD 21613, USA

Primary contact information (PI)

Prof. Michael Kemp

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Years of Mesocosm Experiments
Description of Facility

1. SAV: indoor/ outdoor – pelagic/benthic – freshwater
Indoor closed system tank facility with capacity to control water temperature from 5ºC. Outdoor tanks equipped with bubblers. Greenhouse with 14 closed-system tanks which can be filled with raw Choptank River water, filtered river water, or fresh water. 8 outdoor ponds fed from the Choptank River; inflow and outflow can be controlled.

2. MEERC: indoor – benthic/pelagic – marin
MEERC is a mesocosm facility housing 5 sets of tanks which contain continuous data monitoring devices.  The system can be programmed to control a wide range of experimental parameters. 9 tanks with sandy bottom near marshes (length : 3 m), 12 mesocosms “marshes” (length: 6 m), tanks of  0.1 to 10 m3 (33 tanks can operate simultaneously)

Controlled Parameters

1. SAV: temperature, light, primary production, tide simulation, oxygen measusres, conductivity, pH, salinity, chlorophyl a, chemical analyses (ammonium, nitrate, nitrite, phosphate, silica)

2. MEERC: Mesocosms of various sizes, shapes and habitats, “pelagic-benthic” (PB = water plus sediments) mesocosms examining how variations in depth, width, volume, water residence time, and mixing rate affect ecosystem behavior under various light and nutrient conditions and different degrees of food-web complexity.  Shallow mesocosms with submerged and emergent vascular plants (seagrasses and marsh plants). Nutrient additions in various forms, flow-routes and frequencies, responses of experimental ecosystems

Research Topics

Pelagic-benthic (P/B) ecosystem studies, macrophytes, ecotoxicological studies

Facility location(s)
Primary interests
Specialist areas

Laboratory including ovens for drying plant biomass


The Horn Point Laboratory features a combination dorm and conference center for short-term and long-terms guests visiting our facility. With twelve rooms and two apartments, the dormitory provides visitors with easy access to Horn Point’s research and environmental education facilities.

Meeting Rooms:
• Dining Hall/large meeting room for 75 people comfortably seated.
• Demonstration/Learning Laboratory seats 24 people.
• Two classrooms seat 24 and 10 with tables, respectively

Source of Information

Publications: e.g. Costanza et al. 1993; Chen et al. 1997; 2000; Petersen et al. 1997; 1998;1999; Murray et al. 2000; Kemp et al. 2001; Gardner et al. 2001

Photos of experiments/installations

greenhouseIndoor SAV, greenhouse with 14 closed-system tanks

Past MEERC projects involved a range of experiments with experimental ecosystems (mesocosms) of various sizes, shapes and habitats