What are EcoPODs?
EcoPODs are enclosed environments that allow direct and intensive monitoring and manipulation of replicated plant-soil-microbe-atmosphere interactions over the complete plant life cycle. These “pilot-scale” ecosystems are designed to bridge the gap between small, lab-scale experiments that are not large enough to mimic the environment, and field-scale experiments that cannot be carefully controlled. Each EcoPOD is equipped with environmental controls to carefully and continuously monitor temperature, humidity, and photoperiod. EcoPODs can be further outfitted with tools such as soil moisture, soil water tension, and oxygen sensors. The output from these sensors is visualized using computer models to gain a coherent understanding of the environment inside of the EcoPOD. Several openings in the walls of the lower unit allow horizontal soil sampling or the installation of acrylic glass tubes (rhizotrons) to monitor root development. The accessibility and customization of EcoPODs allow scientists to study natural ecosystem processes within a controlled environment.
EcoPODs are a key component of the Environmental Genomics and Systems Biology Division, which is dedicated to linking genome biology to ecosystem dynamics. For more information on other technologies and participating Fabricated Ecosystems groups click here.
The EcoPOD in Action
Learn More About the EcoPOD