Between control and complexity: opportunities and challenges for marine mesocosms

Raphael D Sagarin, John Adams, Carol A. Blanchette, Richard C. Brusca, Jon Chorover, Julia Cole, Fiorenza Micheli, Adrian Munguia-Vega, Chelsea M. Rochman, Kevin Bonine, Joost L M Van Haren, Peter A Troch

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

5 Scopus citations

Abstract

Marine ecologists have a wide array of tools with which to study complex and dynamic systems, but there are cases where neither simple, highly controlled experiments nor largely uncontrolled, more complex field observations provide adequate inferential power. In such cases, mesocosm studies in marine systems may help bridge the gap. Mesocosm studies can facilitate research ranging from basic biology to multifactorial ecosystem studies that involve observation, perturbation, validation, calibration, long-term studies, and testing of new technologies. Although scale, closed boundaries, biodiversity levels, and replication can impose challenges on mesocosm research, these parameters can also help to define research opportunities that are uniquely suited to such controlled environments. Finally, we provide examples of successful marine mesocosm research and discuss opportunities for future work.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)389-396
Number of pages8
JournalFrontiers in Ecology and the Environment
Volume14
Issue number7
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Sep 1 2016

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ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics
  • Ecology

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