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Mesocosm studies

Analysis of pollutant effects on aquatic communities

We have been regularly conducting field mesocosm studies for insecticides, fungicides and herbicides under GLP in cooperation with external partners for more than 20 years.

Aquatic mesocosm studies as higher-tier test systems

Aquatic mesocosm studies are used as higher-tier test systems in the ecological risk assessment of plant protection products. For more than 20 years, we have regularly conducted field mesocosm studies for insecticides, fungicides and herbicides under GLP in cooperation with external partners (e.g. Fraunhofer IME, Schmallenberg, Germany). The external partners are responsible for the analysis of the test substance as well as GLP technical issues such as quality assurance. Over the past 20 years, we have continuously optimized our methods for sampling, determination and evaluation in line with changing regulatory requirements. To this end, we have continuously expanded the range of organism groups used. Each study is specifically tailored to the needs of the customer. Therefore, it is a matter of course for us to work together with the client to develop an optimal test design tailored to their requirements.


Test system and organisms groups

Our system consists of 30 individual ponds with a volume of 5 m³, which can be interconnected via a mixing pond. This guarantees synchronization of the systems at the beginning of the study, but at the same time ensures separation of the ponds after application. The large surface area of 5 m² is ideal for the simultaneous study of plankton organisms and benthic macroinvertebrates as well as for the study of potted macrophytes. A littoral zone can be optionally integrated by inserting stainless steel tables with sediment and macrophyte planting.

Ongoing method optimization

Currently, there is no uniform standard for conducting and evaluating mesocosm studies. We are committed to providing high data quality and reducing variability in the studies. To ensure high validity of the study results, we continuously improve the methodology used in field sampling, sample enumeration and data evaluation.

Study implementation and evaluation from one source

We rise to the challenge of the high complexity of such studies and, together with our cooperation partner, the Fraunhofer IME, offer customers a well thought-out study concept from design to implementation to statistical evaluation. These tests can also be completed with further experimental work in the laboratory or field as well as effect modeling techniques, if required.


conducted mesocosm studies


insecticide studies


herbicide studies


fungicide studies

Dr. Tido Strauss

Phone: +49 241 – 8027601

Taxonomic expertise

Good laboratory practice



since 2008
Assessment of the influence of pesticides on plankton communities in indoor microcosms under constant environmental conditions according to GLP | various clients, 4 studies, as of 2021
since 2003
Identification and quantification of organisms in biological samples from aquatic mesocosm studies under field conditions according to GLP | various clients, 7 studies, as of 2021
since 1998
Assessment of the impact of pesticides on complex biocoenoses in aquatic mesocosms under field conditions according to GLP | various clients, 28 studies, as of 2021
NANO-Transfer – Transfer kohlenstoffbasierter Nanomaterialien in der aquatischen Umwelt: Verbleib, Effekte, Bioakkumulation, Nahrungsnetzübertragung, Schadstofftransport und Einsatz in der Remediation belasteter Gewässer. Teilprojekt Forschungsinstitut gaiac – Mesokosmosstudie| BMBF, FKZ 03XP0061C

Publications & Presentations

Strauss, T., Toschki, A.,Hammers-Wirtz, M. (2020): New approaches to testing acute toxic effects on natural plankton and soil communities. Poster presentation, SETAC SciCon 2020, SETAC Europe 30th Annual Meeting, 03-07 May, Dublin, Ireland.
Hammers-Wirtz, M., Strauss, T., Toschki, A. (2018): Added value of community approaches in environmental risk assessment. Poster presentation, SETAC Europe 28th Annual Meeting, 13-17 May 2018, Rome, Italy.
Brock, T. C. M., Hammers-Wirtz, M., Hommen, U., Preuss, T. G., Ratte, H. T., Roessink, I., Strauss, T., Van den Brink, P. J. (2015): The minimum detectable difference (MDD) and the interpretation of treatment-related effects of pesticides in experimental ecosystems. Environmental Science and Pollution Research 22: 1160-1174. DOI: 10.1007/s11356-014-3398-2.
Strauss, T., Hammers-Wirtz, M., Hommen, U., Norman, S. (2013): Optimizing experimental setup and sampling techniques to assess pesticide effects on macroinvertebrates in aquatic mesocosm studies. Platform presentation, SETAC Europe 23rd Annual Meeting, 12-16 May 2013, Glasgow, Scotland.
Classen, S., Hammers-Wirtz, M., Strauss, T. (2010): Effects of the seasonal development of macrophytes on other primary producers in aquatic mesocosms. Poster presentation, SETAC Europe 20th Annual Meeting, 23-27 May 2010, Seville, Spain.
Strauss, T., Hammers-Wirtz, M., Memmert, U. (2010): How useful are aquatic indoor microcosms compared to outdoor mesocosm pond studies for risk assessments? Poster presentation, SETAC Europe 20th Annual Meeting, 23-27 May 2010, Seville, Spain.
Strauss, T., Hammers-Wirtz, M., Classen, S., Memmert U. (2007): In-situ bioassay with macrophytes in mesocosm pond studies. Poster presentation, SETAC Europe 17th Annual Meeting, 20-24 May 2007, Porto, Portugal.
Coors, A., Kuckelkorn, J., Hammers-Wirtz, M., Strauss, T. (2006): Application of in-situ bioassays with macrophytes in aquatic mesocosm studies. Ecotoxicology 15 (7): 583-591. DOI: 10.1007/s10646-006-0095-z.

We look forward to hearing from you!