Skip to main content


The impact of human activities on continental aquatic ecosystems and the societal demands for sustainable management of these ecosystems contrast with the profound deficiency of infrastructures devoted to ecological experimentation in France. In response to these shortcomings and to the strategic objectives for environmental sciences at the national level, the CEREEP-Ecotron IleDeFrance united the forces of ecological research in the Ile-de-France region around a new infrastructure project of national and international importance. In 2010, our centre, in partnership with four research laboratories at Ecole normale supérieure, Université Pierre et Marie Curie, and Université Paris Sud, proposed the project “PLANAQUA” (PLAteforme expérimentale NAtionale en écologie AQUAtique), which aimed at establishing a cutting‐edge experimental research infrastructure focusing on the study of continental, aquatic systems. Our objective was to develop a multi-scale research platform that would be competitive at the highest level, nationally and internationally, in terms of its experimental equipment. Indeed, there was no multi-scale highly instrumented infrastructure of this kind in France and only rare examples of similar facilities at a worldwide level. PLANAQUA was officially accepted in 2011 and funded by the ANR call EQUIPEX (“Equipements d’Excellence”, “Investissements d’Avenir” program).
This research infrastructure now provides the scientific community both in France and at an international level with access to a set of experimental equipment with a high level of instrumentation including:
• Aquatic microcosms with a volume of a few litres to several dozens of litres for indoor experiments;

• Aquatic mesocosms with a volume of several hundred of litres to several cubic metres for outdoor experiments;

• Artificial lakes, with a volume of 750 m3, equipped with an extensive instrumentation, allow researchers to work in conditions very close to those of nature;

• Instruments and analytical tools dedicated to water microbiology and bio-geochemistry.
All PLANAQUA equipments and instruments are fully accessible though our web portal and we welcome applications from both public and private research organisations as well as collaborative industrial projects in the field of water management, ecological engineering and metrology-sensor technology.