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24, chemin de Borde Rouge –Auzeville – CS52627
31326 Castanet Tolosan CEDEX - France

Dernière mise à jour : Mai 2018

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Welcome to ECOSYS

UMR ECOSYS - Ecologie fonctionnelle et écotoxicologie des agroécosystèmes

Environmental biophysics

Group coordinated by Patricia Laville

Environmental biophysics
The current techniques and methods accumulated in this technical group allow the acquisition of physical data for the characterization of different compartments of the environment

For example, the following materials are available: microscopes, field spectrophotometers, X-ray diffractometers, laser granulometers for use in liquid medium, devices for measuring the water potential of the soil, Richards presses, devices for soil incubation under controlled matrix potentials, instruments for soil density measurement, soil size and densitometric fractionation, meteorological and micro-meteorological analyses, and infiltrometry, wind benches, rain simulators, systems for remote sensing and GIS, differential and gravimetric thermal analysis, and gas exchange characterization, automatic data acquisition stations, and tools for covariance calculation. In addition to micrometeorological measurements and the use of different types of sensors, water represents a theme present in many shared issues. The consideration of water dynamics in agroecosystems, with associated methods and techniques, is necessary to understand the response of plants under water stress conditions, as well as the role of stomatal conductance (necessary for the impact assessment of contaminants), or the dynamics of pathogens in the canopy. For soils, the state of the water is one of the determining factors of biological activities and, thus, of biogeochemical cycles, as well as the vector of the transfer of most contaminants into soils.

After the creation of ECOSYS, a training/information meeting was organized to address the techniques available in the new unit dealing with biophysical measurements. The objectives of this meeting were as follows: (i) to gather people with an interest in biophysical measurements; (ii) to bring to their knowledge, materials and resources under the new ECOSYS structure; (iii) exchange with colleagues and possible proposal of new fields of application for the presented tools; and (iv) to trace more specific training requests. In particular, it allowed us to show that the Eco&Phy team was mainly concerned with metrology associated with the characterization of climate, particle and gas exchanges at the soil-plant-atmosphere interfaces. The soil team focuses more on the characterization of soil water transfer, while for the Ecotox team, biophysical measurements are relatively marginal. As part of the biophysical technical group, a database for identifying available equipment and competent persons for their use was developed (more than 120 materials have been referenced). In winter 2017, this database was used to conduct a survey to analyze the available technical skills in relation to the need of scientific researchers.