A novel marine mesocosm facility to study global warming, water quality, and ocean acidification

Gustavo Duarte, Emiliano N. Calderon, Cristiano M. Pereira, Laura F.B. Marangoni, Henrique F. Santos, Raquel S. Peixoto, Adalto Bianchini, Clovis B. Castro

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

25 Scopus citations


We describe a completely randomizable flow-through outdoor mesocosm for climate change and ecotoxicology studies that was built with inexpensive materials. The 16 raceway tanks allow up to 69 water renewal per hour, avoiding changes in natural abiotic seawater conditions. We use an open-source hardware board (Arduino) that was adapted to control heaters and an innovative CO2 injection system. This system reduced seawater pH up to −0.9 units and increased temperature up to +6℃ in three treatments and a control. Treatments can be continuously compared with the control and vary according to diel fluctuations, thus following the diel range observed in the sea. The mesocosm facility also includes an integrated secondary system of 48 aquaria for ecotoxicology studies. We validated the reproducibility and relevance of our experimental system by analyzing the variation of the total DNA of the microbial community extracted from corals in three elevated temperature scenarios during a 40-day experiment. We also present data from temperature, acidification, and copper contamination trials, which allowed continuous, reliable, and consistent treatment manipulations.
Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)4555-4566
Number of pages12
JournalEcology and Evolution
Issue number20
StatePublished - Oct 1 2015
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics
  • Ecology
  • Nature and Landscape Conservation


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