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Microcosm (experimental ecosystem)

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Microcosms are artificial, simplified ecosystems that are used to simulate and predict the behaviour of natural ecosystems under controlled conditions. Open or closed microcosms provide an experimental area for ecologists to study natural ecological processes. Microcosm studies can be very useful to study the effects of disturbance or to determine the ecological role of key species. A Winogradsky column is an example of a microbial microcosm.

See also[edit]

  • Closed ecological system
  • Ecologist Howard T. Odum was a pioneer in his use of small closed and open ecosystems in classroom teaching.
  • Biosphere 2 - Controversial project with a 1.27 ha artificial closed ecological system in Oracle, Arizona (USA).


  • Jiang, Lin; Patel, Shivani N. (2008). "Community assembly in the presence of disturbance: a microcosm experiment". Ecology. 89 (7): 1931–40. doi:10.1890/07-1263.1. hdl:1853/36758. PMID 18705379.
  • Kangas, Patrick; Adey, Walter (1996). "Mesocosms and ecological engineering". Ecological Engineering. 6 (1–3): 1–5. doi:10.1016/0925-8574(95)00058-5.
  • Kassen, Rees; Buckling, Angus; Bell, Graham; Rainey, Paul B. (2000). "Diversity peaks at intermediate productivity in a laboratory microcosm". Nature. 406 (6795): 508–12. doi:10.1038/35020060. PMID 10952310. S2CID 4324020.
  • Odum HT (1989). "Ecological engineering and self-organization". In Mitsch WJ & Jørgensen SE (ed.). Ecological Engineering: An Introduction to Ecotechnology. New York: John Wiley and Sons. pp. 79–101. ISBN 978-0471625599.
  • Roeselers, Guus; Zippel, Barbara; Staal, Marc; Van Loosdrecht, Mark; Muyzer, Gerard (2006). "On the reproducibility of microcosm experiments – different community composition in parallel phototrophic biofilm microcosms". FEMS Microbiology Ecology. 58 (2): 169–78. doi:10.1111/j.1574-6941.2006.00172.x. PMID 17064259.
  • Ecological Microcosms[verification needed]