Our platforms offer opportunities for companies, interest groups and research institutes to examine ecological hypotheses, try out management strategies, test new products, or put a wild idea into practice. Technicians and administrative staff support users, and know-how of university researchers can help fine-tune the users’ goals, planning and measurements. Users can run sub-projects within ongoing experiments, or rent (part of) a platform to conduct independent experiments, depending on availability.

An example is the currently running project QPear. This project is led by UHasselt and is conducted at the Macro-scale Ecotron in collaboration with PCFruit and VCBT  (Flemish Centrum For Preservation Of Horticultural Products). It assesses how pear orchards, pear cultivation and fruit preservation will function in the climate of 2040. The question is of key importance for Belgian horticulture where pear orchards play a significant role. In the QPear project researchers assess what measures will farmers need to apply to counteract negative impacts of climate change such as droughts and early frosts.  Both ecological aspects of pear orchard functioning as well as economic aspects of climate change mitigation are examined.   

Research into the impacts of climate change on pear trees (Project QPear) in the Macro-scale Ecotron, in collaboration with Vlaams Centrum voor Bewaring van Tuinbouwproducten and Proefcentrum Fruit

Projects since the start of operations of the various platforms:

2014-2019    Effects of combined exposure to metal mixture and natural stressors on aquatic invertebrates.

2016-2019    Mixed metal and temperature stress in aquatic environments establishing functional links across different levels of organization.

2017-2020    Adaptive responses of an aquatic vertebrate to chemical pollution.

2017-2020    In situ biodegradation of TBT in sediment by enhanced oxygenation.

2017-2024    Sampling and analyses of priority compounds to assess the compliance with biota quality standards in Flanders.

2018-2021    Ecotoxicological effects of sulphates to aquatic organisms.

2018-2021    Development of an active-passive sampling device for monitoring bioavailable pollutants in water.

2018-2022    Quantification and characterization of the plastic flux in the Scheldt, with a view to an efficient remediation of this waste problem.

2018-2021    Green walls and roofs as a source of ecosystem services in our future cities (‘Ecocities’).

2019-2020    Density determinations and field experiments related to the potential impact of Chinese mitten crabs on macrophytes in the Nete.

2019-2021    Elucidating the role of nutrient availability and mycorrhizae in the drought response of terrestrial ecosystem carbon cycling.

2019-2021    Implementation of soil fauna effects into the forest ecosystem model ANAFORE.

2019-2022    Negative emissions through enhanced mineral weathering in the coastal zone.

2019-2022    Biochar’s added value in sustainable land use (‘BASTA’).

2019-2023    EcoFlow: Het begrijpen van water- en warmtestroming in Ecotrons.

2019-2023    Een nieuwe hoge-orde tijdsintegratieprocedure voor singulier gestoorde bio-geïnspireerde stromingen.

2019-2024    UAntwerp BOF project ‘Shifting rainfall regimes: a multi-scale analysis of ecosystem response (REGIME SHIFT).

2020-2023    Toward a risk-based assessment of microplastic pollution in marine ecosystems (RESPONSE).

2020-2023    Biofortified and climate-resilient food and fodder production on marginal soils (BioFoodOnMars).

2020-2024    The effectiveness of novel genotypes and soil organic matter to protect agricultural grasslands against increasingly persistent weather.

2020-2024    Freshwater ecosystems with a burn-out: extra stress caused by heatwaves?

2020-2024    River ecosystem impact of the invasive Chinese mitten crab (Eriocheir sinensis).

2020-2024    Unravelling the effects of individual coping style and long-term glucocorticoid up-regulation on cardiac remodeling in Atlantic salmon (Salmo salar).

2020-2025    Aquatic ecosystem functioning and global change.

2021                  Stability of a tidal marsh under extreme flow conditions: a flume experiment.

2021                  Service contract Vision3F BV: Rainbow trout and Salmon tests.

2021-2022    Visiting scholarship for a PhD student in a context of a joint PhD project with Leiden university.

2021-2023    Phenological responses to more persistent weather in temperate grassland.

2021-2023    Herontdekken van het bodemleven.

2021-2024    Predicting heat wave impacts on the stability of soil microbial communities.

2021-2024    Bankbusters; funding by VLAIO Blauwe Cluster.

2021-2025    Quality of pear fruit in a changing climate (QPear).

2021-2025    Heathland in future climate.

2021-2025    Mycorrhizal plant control over ecosystem functioning.

2022-2023    Plastic flux for innovation and business opportunities in Flanders (Pluxin).

2022-2023    Impacts of Future Climate Change on Soil Microbial Composition.

2022-2023    Modelling of mycorrhizal fungal impacts on soil carbon sequestration processes.

2022-2025    Nature-based climate adaptation in the coastal zone: demonstrating the key role of spatial selforganization of coupled plant species zonation and wave attenuation in tidal marshes.

2023-2026    Effects of the chemical structure of per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) on the bioaccumulation and toxicity to terrestrial and aquatic plants and invertebrates.

2022-2027    Horizon Europe project AGROSERV on agroecological transition (call HORIZON-INFRA-2021-SERV-01-02), PLECO-UAntwerp and UHasselt-CMK, joint proposal with AnaEE-Europe partners and other ESFRIs.

2022-2028    UHasselt BOF Methusalem grant, section devoted to the Ecotron research

2023-2027    Sharks in distress: a comparative, ecophysiological, and behavioural approach toward quantifying the effects of chronic stress in sharks.

2023-2027    Ecotron Rapid Assessment Units (RAU).

2023-2028    Onderzoek en monitoring van het Hedwige-Prosperproject.

2023-2028    CLANCY – monitoring and management of the chinese mittencrab.

2023-2028    Horizon Europe project PHENET ‘Tools and methods for extended plant PHENotyping and EnviroTyping services of European Research Infrastructures’ (EU Horizon Europe RIA INFRATECH); joint multi-RI project.

2023-2028    Défis et opportunités pour une socio-écologie durable dans l’Arc cuprifère du Katanga: le Climatron. Mise en place d’un site d’étude expérimental sur le climat et la biodiversité.

2023-2029    UAntwerp BOF Centre of Excellence ‘Global Change Ecology’

2024-2025    Service contract GEOBIO UAntwerp “Blue Alkalinity – innovative ways of CO2 drawdown in marine engineering applications (Blue Cluster cSBO).

2024-2027    Horizon Europe Doctoral Network “Quantitative extrapolation in ecotoxicology” (QTOX).

2024-2028    Horizon Europe proposal IRISCC on climate change driven risks (call HORIZON-INFRA-2023-SERV-01-01), PLECO-UAntwerp and UHasselt-CMK, joint proposal with AnaEE-Europe partners and other ESFRIs.

2024-2028    Impact of climate on ecosystem functioning, and belowground microbial diversity in a pear tree orchard.

2024-2028    Global patterns of carbon allocation into soil by mycorrhizal fungi, and their impacts geographical distribution of other microorganisms.

2024-2028    Simulation of the dynamic on soil organic matter mediated by mycorrhiza fungi.

2025-2027    The role of arbuscular mycorrhizal fungi in agricultural grasslands exposed to increasingly persistent weather patterns.