What are EcoPODS?
EcoPODs are enclosed environments of several meters cubed 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. They are equipped with environmental controls to carefully manipulate temperature, humidity, and other important climatic parameters. The EcoPODs are outfitted with sensors capable of monitoring soil moisture, oxygen, and the concentration of key nutrients. The output from these sensors is integrated using computer models to gain a coherent understanding of the environment inside of the EcoPOD. Multiple EcoPODs will allow scientists to examine the impact of differences in types of soils, microbes and plants on ecosystem health.
EcoPODs are a key component of Berkeley Lab’s Fabricated Ecosystem Division, a branch dedicated to the advancement of ecosystem science. For more information on other technologies and participating groups click here.