The mesocosm facility in Crete, called CRETACOSMOS, is part of the Institute of Oceanography, based at Thalassocosmos which comprises thefacilities of the Hellenic Centre for Marine Research in Crete. Thalassocosmos is located at about 16 km east of Heraklion city, on the north coast of Crete.
HCMR-Crete is part of the MESOAQUA project which is a network of major European mesocosm facilities providing access to scientific groups interested in using these facilities.
CRETACOSMOS is the only mesocosm facility in the Eastern Mediterranean. It is an important infrastructure on a global scale as adjacent to an extreme oligotrophic marine environment.The facility is supported by a research team having well established experience for handling ultra-oligotrophic waters. Fivemesocosm experiments involving more than 80 scientists have been successfully carried out in the HCMR facility so far.
The facility includes up 24 polyethylene 300 m-3 capacity and 5 m depth mesocosm-bags, incubated in two 300m3 land based tanks with running water. The size of the tanks allows for individual mesocosms having a volume of up to 5 m-3 while temperature is controlled through water flow in the large tank. This capacity enables experimentation at the ecosystem level and the conduction of large experiments on climate change.
The mesocosm facility is complemented by a 26m long research vessel, PHILIA, a zodiac and a variety of experimental laboratories: chemical lab, radio-isotope lab (14C, 33P, 3H), flow cytometry lab (FACSCalibur flow cytometer, -80oC freezer), microscopy lab (inverted and epifluorescence microscopes, image analysis system), culture/live laboratory (autoclave, laminar flow, incubator, milliQ water, lab washer), constant temperature room and several general use labs.