- Infrastructure type
- Ecotron outdoor
The Utrecht University Biodiversity and Climate Variability Experiment, UU BioCliVE, is an experiment manipulating plant diversity and future precipitation scenarios to examine how biological diversity can provide us with natural insurance against climate change.
The long-term experiment uses 352 containers, each with 1000 liters of soil, to precisely construct grassland ecosystems that represent a gradient of biodiversity. By using large constructed ecosystems, we can precisely manipulate our grassland communities, while achieving a realistic scale that allows for real-life ecosystem interactions. At the same time, we can impose future climate conditions that change precipitations patterns. In the Netherlands, climate change likely means drier summers and wetter winters in general while at the same time extreme rainfall and drought events occur more often.
The experimental grasslands represent riverine grassland communities, characteristic of periodically flooded sandy soils ('glanshaverhooiland' in Dutch). The containers have different levels of plant diversity: they contain 1, 4, 8 or 12 species of grasses and forbs. Using this experimental plant species richness gradient, we can study the effects of biodiversity on ecosystem functioning during the climate manipulations we apply. These climate manipulations, which began in 2023, represent two interacting precipitation scenarios for the Netherlands: a change in the seasonality of rainfall and a change in the frequency of extreme precipitation, or both.
The experiment was set up in May 2017 at the Utrecht University Botanical Gardens. It is a collaborative effort of the researchers at the Ecology & Biodiversity group of the Department of Biology at Utrecht University. Researchers from other institutes are welcome to join.
Biodiversity, plants, grassland, precipitation,
BioCliVE consists of 352 containers, each with 1000 liters of soil. The containers have different levels of plant diversity: they contain 1, 4, 8 or 12 species of grasses and forbs. Each container has a drip irrigation system that administers water via a program depending on which precipitation treatment the container is a part of. Each container is also fitted with a TMS4 probe that constantly measures soil moisture and temperature in the soil, at the soil surface, and 10 cm above the soil surface.
All data from the BioCliVE will be made available upon publication. We currently manage our data using Zenodo, however, because the BioCliVE is still a young experiment and the full design has only been initiated in 2023 these data are not available yet.
Conditions for access
The BioCliVE is located at the Utrecht University Botanical Gardens but is not currently open to public access. If you would like to visit the BioCliVE, please contact Dr. Kathryn Barry or Dr. Yann Hautier.