Ecopod - Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory
EcoPods are enclosed environments of approximately 3 m3 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. The EcoPods will be equipped with environmental controls to carefully manipulate and control temperature, humidity, and other important climatic parameters. The EcoPods will also be outfitted with sensors capable of monitoring soil moisture, oxygen, and specific nutrients, and the output from these sensors will be integrated using computer models to gain a coherent understanding of the environment inside the EcoPod. Multiple EcoPods will allow scientists to examine the impact of differences in types of soils, microbes and plants on ecosystem health.