MICROcosm: a global microcosm experiment

2021 – 2022

This global experiment is coordinated by Gustavo Romero (UNICAMP, Brazil) and Martin Gossner (Swiss Federal Institute for Forest, Snow and Landscape Research WSL, Switzerland) to to assess human impacts on forest ecosystems using experimental microcosms.

The main question of the global experiment is how current and future climatic conditions, forest habitat degradation and management influence biodiversity and ecosystem functioning in
water filled microcosms worldwide.

In addition, we run a spinoff experiment together with Jana Petermann (University of Salzburg, Austria) and Pavel Kratina (Queen Mary University of London, UK) in Hungary, Austria and UK to test for the effect of connectivity.

Our participation is supported by the NKFIH financed Climate Change National Laboratory and led by Barbara Barta as part of her PhD.

AQUACOSM-plus: Network of Leading Ecosystem Scale Experimental AQUAtic MesoCOSM Facilities Connecting Rivers, Lakes, Estuaries and Oceans in Europe and beyond

2020 – 2024

This Horizon 2020 consortium of 30 partner institutes is led by Jens Nejstgaard (FVB-IGB) as the main PI.

PI from our institute: Csaba Vad

This project fosters collaborative research, development of new technologies in mesocosm research and addressing grand challenges in aquatic ecology. The project has a strong emphasis on knowledge transfer and capacity building via symposia, expert summits, transnational access to research infrastructure, and open workshops, with the aim of co-designing future aquatic research actions.

We will have Transnational Access oppportunities opening in 2022 – stay tuned!

CLOSER – Effect of connectivity loss on biodiversity in experimental metacommunities
2019 – 2024

This is my first standalone project in Hungary, financed by the National Research, Development and Innovation Office (NKFIH).

The aim of this project is to better understand the relative role of habitat and connectivity loss in explaining local and regional biodiversity loss in metacommunities, and their interaction with an important aspect of climate change, the warming of surface waters. We will carry out experiments using plankton metacommunities in mesocosms with multiple levels of connectivity, starting in spring 2020. We will combine the effect of heating (climate change) with removing key (central) links from the metacommunities to seek a better understanding of the impacts of the Anthropocene on local and regional biodiversity.

SODAphniaEco-evolutionary dynamics in unique ecosystems: sodic waters
2018 – 2021

This project is financed by FWO (Belgium), which started as a collaboration between KU Leuven and WasserCluster Lunz, led by Luc De Meester. Co-PIs: Zsófia Horváth, Csaba Vad and Robert Ptacnik.

In the project, we aim at identifying the impact of local genetic adaptation on landscape genetics, (meta)community structure and ecosystem characteristics. With the help of Daphnia magna as our model species, we carry out field transplant and common gardening experiments along the natural salinity gradient of soda pans and sodic bomb crater ponds in Austria and Hungary. Due to my move, I will continue the project from Hungary.

Project page at KU Leuven:
Project page at WasserCluster Lunz:

Vogelwarte Madárvárta 2 – Grenzüberschreitende Koordination der ökologischen Monitoringaktivitäten in den NATURA 2000 Gebieten der Neusiedler-See und Hanság
2017 – 2020

This project is financed by the INTERREG V-A AT-HU 2014-2020 call of the European Union, as a cooperation between Fertő-Hanság (Hungary), and Neusiedler See – Seewinkel National Parks (Austria), Biological Station Neusiedler See (AT) and WasserCluster Lunz, with Fertő-Hanság NP as the Lead Partner.

This is a trans-boundary Interreg project between Austria and Hungary, where the project partners cooperate in monitoring protected areas and species and carry out research serving as a basis for management and habitat restoration. This project did not move with me, rather I left a foot at WasserCluster to finish it in the forthcoming last project year. Together with Dunja Lukić and Robert Ptacnik, we have been working on:
feeding ecology of fairy shrimps and the role of environment in explaining diet shift (experiments, stable isotopes),
– phylogeography of fairy shrimps (congeneric Branchinecta species across the Palearctic – collaboration with Tom Pinceel at KU Leuven),
– role of waterbirds in aquatic dispersal (metabarcoding of bird droppings and natural plankton communities), and
habitat loss in soda pans.

Project page:
Project page at WasserCluster Lunz:

sTURN – Does time drive space? Building a mechanistic linkage between spatial and temporal turnover in metacommunities
2017 – 2019

sTURN is our working group at the Synthesis Centre of Biodiversity Sciences (sDiv) in Leipzig, funded by DFG, that I am co-leading with Robert Ptacnik.

With this international group of metacommunity ecologists, we are working on a synthesis for spatio-temporal patterns in metacommunities, aiming to understand the general scaling relationships underlying spatio-temporal turnover in the classical metacommunity archetypes and beyond. This is another project that received funding when I was still at WasserCluster, but there is still a lot going on, with multiple manuscripts in preparation (at different stages – the first by Patrick Thompson is already out in Ecology Letters).

Project page with the full list of participants:
Project page at WasserCluster Lunz:

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