EcoCELLs: Tools for mesocosm scale measurements of gas exchange

K. L. Griffin, P. D. Ross, D. A. Sims, Y. Luo, J. R. Seemann, C. A. Fox, J. T. Ball

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

37 Scopus citations


We describe the use of a unique plant growth facility, which has as its centerpiece four 'EcoCELLs', or 5x7 m mesocosms designed as open-flow, mass-balance systems for the measurement of carbon, water and trace gas fluxes. This system is unique in that it was conceived specifically to bridge the gap between measurement scales during long-term experiments examining the function and development of model ecosystems. There are several advantages to using EcoCELLs, including (i) the same theory of operation as leaf level gas exchange systems, but with continuous operation at a much larger scale; (ii) the ability to independently evaluate canopy-level and ecosystem models; (iii) simultaneous manipulation of environmental factors and measurement of system-level responses, and (iv) maximum access to, and manipulation of, a large rooting volume. In addition to discussing the theory, construction and relative merits of EcoCELLs, we describe the calibration and use of the EcoCELLs during a 'proof of concept' experiment. This experiment involved growing soybeans under two ambient CO2 concentrations (~360 and 710 μmol mol-1). During this experiment, we asked 'How accurate is the simplest model that can be used to scale from leaf-level to canopy-level responses?' in order to illustrate the utility of the EcoCELLs in validating canopy-scale models.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1210-1221
Number of pages12
JournalPlant, Cell and Environment
Issue number10
StatePublished - Oct 1996
Externally publishedYes


  • ecosystem carbon flux
  • elevated CO
  • gas exchange
  • global change
  • greenhouses
  • photosynthesis
  • soil respiration

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Physiology
  • Plant Science


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