Official Launch to open Europe’s Largest Mesocosm


Official Launch to open Europe’s Largest Mesocosm

The new E-Flows mesocosm has been in development for two years and will allow the examination of simulations of natural aquatic environments under controlled conditions. This form of higher tier testing will enable the agri-chemical industry, particularly those developing plant protection products such as pesticides, to demonstrate whether their products pose any risk to aquatic environments.

Providing a test-bed of 60 realistic streams, each of up to two metres wide and ten metres long, the flow of each stream in the E-Flows mesocosm can be varied independently so that they can be fast flowing like a stream, slow following like a ditch or event almost still, like a pond, giving researchers complete flexibility and control.

“Historically, many standard mesocosms lack the scale, water flow and realism of real-life aquatic environments as they tend to be relatively small and unable to support the abundance of biodiversity needed to meet regulatory requirements,” explained Dr Rachel Benstead, senior aquatic ecotoxicologist at Fera Science. “Many of those currently available are static or simply recirculate water, which is not a true representation of what happens out in the field, where fresh water is continuously flowing.

The launch was also featured on Radio 4 'Farming Today' programme - Rachel & CHAP John Chinn were both interviewed.

Listen to the interview

Our interview takes place 4 mins until 8 mins 33 secs.

“Our E-Flows mesocosm is supplied with a continuous flow-through of aged, fresh water. Combined with its significantly large size, we are able to better support the diverse aquatic communities, ensuring testing will be fairer, more flexible and representative of real life, providing the best possible opportunities for leading research in agriculture. Dr Andrew Swift, CEO of Fera Science, added: “The E-Flows mesocosm is a ground-breaking facility that will support the protection of natural capital and our environment. We are delighted to have been able to launch the facility with the Kevin Hollinrake MP, who continues to be supportive of the work both Fera and our partners deliver.”

Kevin Hollinrake MP, officially launched the E-Flows mesocosm at an exclusive event at Fera Science’s testing facility in York. Following presentations from the team behind the development of the mesocosm, guests were then provided with a tour around the facility.

Comment from Hollinrake’s office and Comment from CHAP

This new investment is set to greatly support not only the agri-chemical industry but all chemical industries, providing high quality regulatory evidence and supporting the development of amongst other chemical compounds novel crop products that are safe for our aquatic environments. Testing will be fairer, more flexible and more representative of real life than ever before, providing the best possible opportunities for leading research.

If you would like more information on the E-flows mesocosm, to arrange a visit and tour to the site or to schedule an interview with a Fera spokesperson, please email us.

Download our ebook on the Mesocosm

More technical information can be found in our e-book.

Watch the Fly-through Animation


Watch the Drone Footage


Mesocosm Studies

The Edge of Field Waterbody Safety Assessment Facility (E-Flows) is designed to be a state of the art mesocosm providing a realistic test bed for regulatory risk assessments.


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