Theoretical and Experimental Ecology Station
The Metatron is an ecotron dedicated to the study of ecological processes inside semi-controlled environments. This unparalleled equipment is located on the Commune of Caumont in Ariège(France).
It comprises 48 populations cages, each with a surface of 100-m² and a height of 2m, in which we can monitor and manipulate climatic conditions (temperature, humidity or solar radiation) and manipulate species movements among units. Each enclosure acts as a mini ecosystem, with natural vegetation and insect communities and a relatively wide variety of thermal microhabitats (shaded, dense, and diverse vegetation, sun-battered rocks and logs, and ponds).
Diversity within these caged habitats is relatively high, with more than 140 plant species (~50 species per cage, see pictures) and 123 invertebrate families (~40 invertebrate families per cage) found within the enclosures compared to 134 plant species and 106 invertebrate families found in the nearby outside habitat. Cages can be connected by corridors which allow species to freely disperse from one unit to another. This apparatus is used to study the effects of climate and fragmentation on the functioning of ecological systems and to experimentally monitor eco-evolutionary dynamics.
The Metatron is one of the services provided by the research infrastructure AnaEE France for experimental manipulation of managed and unmanaged terrestrial and aquatic ecosystems. www.anaee-france.fr/en/
2011-10-13 Le Métatron du CNRS en Ariège
2014-08-28 Le Métatron simulateur de réchauffement climatique en Ariège
2011-05-24 Observation lézards et papillons