An underground stream for research
The Catalan Institute for Water Research (ICRA) brings into operation an underground room for experimental streams, which consolidates the ICRA as one of the few water research institutes in Europe to gather, in the same space, all the necessary equipment and resources to offer a global and cross-border service in water research through various disciplines.
Artificial streams water flows through the ICRA undergrounds. This month the ICRA has brought into operation a room for experimental streams or stream mesocosms, also known as Experimental Streams Facility (ESF). This facility is unique in Europe and it reproduces streams behaviour, which makes it possible to simulate streams ecosystems response to different situations and environmental variables such as drought episodes, chemical or biological pollutant loads, and temperature fluctuations.
This facility will allow researchers to conduct ecotoxicological tests that can set the chemical concentrations that affect stream ecosystems, as well as experimental tests for research on climate change. The importance of conducting mesocosms research in laboratories comes from the fact that such researches can help predict how changes –in terms of precipitations and temperature- can affect streams conservation and the ecosystemic services coming from these ecosystems, along with the consequent economic repercussions.
The ESF is one of the 2011 investments that has helped define the research platform PLANTEA (Research Platform for Water Science and Technologies), a space where research and process demonstration projects can be conducted in pilot plants of different sizes (up to semi-industrial scale).
A unique facility in Europe
This facility is unique in Europe. We can find others in Vienna, Berlin and London, but the most similar one is in the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), also known as ESF.
The Experimental Streams Facility reassesses ICRA’s positioning as one of the few water research institutes in Europe that gathers, in the same space, all the necessary equipment and resources to offer a global and cross-border service in water research through various disciplines.
The e-MTA Campus
The ICRA, together with the UdG, the CSIC and the UIB, is part of the Euro-Mediterranean Tourism and Water Campus, considered a Campus of International Excellence (CEI e-MTA). The implementation of this new facility will further enhance its research capacity, which will contribute to the CEI e-MTA’s success.
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