The European Commission’s 7th Framework programme (DG Research & Innovation) is co-funding the Preparatory Phase of AnaEE (Grant Agreement n°312690) that will run for a period of 3 ½ years from 1st November 2012 to 30th April 2016.
AnaEE Belgium. The Hercules Foundation for large infrastructure in Flanders has selected the construction of AnaEE Belgium as a top-priority national contribution to AnaEE Europe, and has proposed to the Department of Economy, Science and Innovation of the Flemish Government (EWI) to finance AnaEE Belgium with €15.473 million to cover a 5 year period (2 years construction phase + 3 years exploitation phase). In April 2013, EWI already partially financed the macrocosm ecotron at Hasselt University with €3.2 million.
Objectives and services:
Objectives of AnaEE Belgium: AnaEE Belgium intends to be a cornerstone of ANAEE by uniting three leading Belgian research groups as outlined below in ecosystem science, aiming to build key ANAEE building blocks:
1) Facilities to simulate climate extremes (heatwaves and droughts) in fully realistic conditions. These involve advanced free-air infrared irradiation systems. Climate extremes are increasing in frequency, and can suddenly drive ecosystems beyond thresholds of integrity (tipping points). These regime shifts threaten biodiversity and ecosystem services such as food production. The ecology of extreme events is, however, hardly understood.
2) Ecotrons. These are climate-controlled units for unraveling complex ecological processes in real-time, through continuous sampling of trace gas fluxes between ecosystems and the atmosphere (CO2, H2O, CH4, N2O, …). They can manipulate multiple abiotic drivers such as CO2, temperature, pollution, etc., which makes them unique tools for understanding impacts. Two complementary types of Ecotron are planned. One holds large macrocosm units and will be situated close to an ICOS-financed flux tower in a natural ecosystem (ICOS: Integrated Carbon Observing System), thus linking the two ESFRI's ANAEE and ICOS. A second Ecotron facility with smaller but more (36) mesocosm units accommodates multifactorial experiments with up to four factors and multiple levels per factor, suitable to determine system thresholds and manipulate biodiversity. This combination provides unparalleled possibilities. Research will concentrate on all aspects of stress in a future climate.
3) Aquatic and wetland facilities. The third building block addresses the terrestrial-aquatic interface, the ultimate filter for biogeochemical cycles between land and water. The infrastructure here ranges from highly instrumented tidal marshes to in vitro wetland mesocosms. Research will focus on how changes in the hydrological cycle (floods, extreme rainfall) interact with large-scale changes in land and nutrients use to alter the functioning of natural and agricultural ecosystems. Changes in buffering capacity will be a key focus.
AnaEE Belgium Partners:The partners of the consortium are the University of Antwerp and Hasselt University and will pool their expertise in joint experiments, streamlined with partners in the ANAEE network, whilst shaping ANAEE at the European level through the FP7 AnaEE Preparatory Project. The infrastructure aims to significantly advance and shape ecosystem research in Belgium.
AnaEE France The ANR (French National Research Agency) under the “Investments for the future” programme is funding AnaEE France (formerly AnaEE-Services) for a total of €14 million.
Objectives and services:
Objectives of AnaEE France:The AnaEE France Infrastructure will bring together an integrated network of the French major experimental, analytical and modeling platforms dedicated to the biological study of continental ecosystems (aquatic and terrestrial). The proposed Infrastructure gathers three complementary nodes offering open-access to the best experimental facilities and associated biological resources and data: the two Ecotrons, a “Très Grande Infrastructure” that provides unprecedented means to control and monitor ecosystems ex natura (node 1); three semi-natural experimental platforms to manipulate terrestrial and aquatic ecosystems in situations intermediate between those of Ecotrons and nature (node 2); and twenty-one sites equipped for long-term (>20 yrs) experiments in natura in major biomes (forests, croplands, grasslands and lakes, node 3). AnaEE France will also invest in shared instruments and analytical platforms dedicated to environmental microbiology (node 4). Finally, AnaEE France will provide users with data bases and modeling tools designed to represent ecosystem dynamics and to go further in coupling ecological, agronomical and evolutionary approaches (node 5).
AnaEE Services Partners: CNRS, INRA and Joseph Fourrier University.
Objectives and services:
Objectives of the North Wyke Farm Platform: The Farm Platform provides a Research Hotel for agri-environmental research to attract researchers from different communities and disciplines to promote new ideas or tackle old problems in new ways. The Farm Platform is globally unique in that it can provide the research community access to a range of in situ state-of-the-art instrumentation in hydrologically isolated fields and farmlets to better address key issues in sustainable agriculture.
AnaEE Italia is now officially funded for the preparatory phase as of 2014, with €561k contributed to the CNR.
AnaEE Finland has received initial funding of €170k from the Academy of Finland, an agency within the administrative branch of the Ministry of Education, Science and Culture.