BiodivClim Joint call: partner / project search entry

Looking for : a project to join

Title : Mr. Dr
Name : Alexandru Milcu
Country : France
Organisation name : CNRS
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My expertise / skills : The Ecotron is a laboratory of the Institute of Ecology and Environment (CNRS) open to national and international scientists’ consortia in the fields of ecology, population and community biology and agronomy.

The Ecotron allows a precise conditioning of the environment and on line measurements of states and activities (fluxes) of organisms and ecosystems at various scales. This facility bridges the gap between the complexity of in natura studies and the simplicity of laboratory experiments.

The research topics to be addressed in the Ecotron include fundamental questions about biogeochemical cycles and the role of biodiversity in ecosystem processes, but tests of ecological theories as well as the applied aspects of optimizing ecosystem services are also desirable projects.

Selected publications:

Alexandre A. et al. 2018. Triple oxygen isotope composition of phytoliths as a proxy of continental atmospheric humidity: insights from climate chamber and climate transect calibrations. Biogeosciences 15: 3223–3241; doi:10.5194/bg-15-3223-2018.

Milcu A., et al. 2018. Genotypic variability enhances the reproducbility of an ecological study. Nature Ecology and Evolution 2: 279-287; doi:10.1038/s41559-017-0434-x.

Roy, J.,et al. (2016). Elevated CO2 maintains grassland net carbon uptake under a future heat and drought extreme. PNAS (Proceedings Natl. Acad. Sci. United States Am): 113: 6224-6229; doi:10.1073/pnas.1524527113.
I am working on :
Flow of energy and matter
Population Genetics
Crop Production
Evolutionary Biology
Quantitative genetics
Population Biology
Plant Sciences
Biology of interactions
Behavioral Biology
Crop Science
Keywords : carbon fluxes, water fluxes, growth chambers, controlled environment, lysimeters, climatic simulations, experimental ecology, climate change, biodiversity loss, ecophysiology
Project description : French Ecotrons are a new generation after that of London Ecotron in Silwood Park and that of the Desert Research Institute in Reno, Nevada. They are characterised by a larger number of experimental units (at least 12 per platform) and are better equipped and instrumented, which allows to study interactions between environmental factors in a robust statistical framework in controlled conditions - a necessity since these interactions are at the heart of ecosystem functioning. The French Ecotrons simulate a range of environments much larger than what was done in previous infrastructure including low temperatures, low oxygen partial pressure, specific spectral composition of light, fast and slow changes. This offers the possibility to study new types of ecosystems and to test original hypotheses. These environmental conditions, including extremes, will stimulate the interest of biologists, including those interested in the genetics and physiology of complex traits. The Ecotrons also propose a capacity of online measurement of ecosystem processes, including biogeochemical cycles and the use of isotopes, which is unparalleled in other infrastructures. Three experimental platforms are available: 1)The Macrocosms platform, 2) The Mesocosms platform & 3) The microcosms platform. For more details check our website at
Networking opportunities : GfÖ Annual Meeting 2019 September 09 to 13, Münster, Germany. Visits of the three experimental platforms of the Montpellier European Ecotron are avaialable upon request.

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