DESCRIPTION: Braila Islands LTSER platform is a large and complex socio-natural floodplain area in the Danube Inland Delta, which is located in the upstream part of the Lower Danube Wetland System. On about 80% of its surface area, the wetlands were substituted by agricultural land more three decades ago. The present area is composed by Forest 10.75%, Arable land- 72.11%, Grassland 2.3%, Scrublands 1%, Wetlands 3.31%, Other 10.53% and preserves a relative large area remained under flooding regime very closed to the natural reference conditions. This is a protected area named “Small Island of Braila”, being both National Park and “Ramsar” Site. This platform offers a large and complex frame for ecological research and experimentation from local ecosystem scale to landscape and socio-ecological complex scales. Research infrastructure includes:
i) a series of field monitoring and research stations (observation, measurement and sampling points) covering the spatial heterogeneity of the LTSER platform in terms of habitat types: terrestrial (grasslands, forests, farms), aquatic (shallow lakes, Danube river stretches and arms) and wetland habitats (riparian zones and marshes);
ii) one station meteo and hydrological station for real time measurements as well as with portable equipment for long term measurement;
iii) one research laboratory located in Braila city (inside the LTSER platform) equipped necessary communication and transport facilities for the field work;
iv) two research vessels (a larger laboratory boat of 30.2 to and 17/5 m, “Universitatea 3”, equipped with water/ bottom sampling and processing facilities, and a tugboat of 5.8 to and 8/3 m, “Lugojelul”) and a floating laboratory pontoon of 180 to and 37/7 m;
v) three cars: an auto-laboratory, an utility car and a minibus for 8 persons.
Complex intensive monitoring and research station (equipped with meteo and hydrological sensors for real time measurements and other equipment for research activities as well as with portable equipment for long term CO2 soil measurement - LICOR); One complete automated real time measurements hydrological station (for ground water analysis – including piezometers); A research vessel (“Universitatea 3”) hosting up to 6 researchers and equipped with the necessary instruments for both sample collection as well as primary analysis of different samples. The field equipment includes automatic analyzer for algae classes and LICOR real time water analyzer (for pH, conductivity, O2 and nutrients); A complex laboratory located in Bucharest for further analyses: Calorimeter, DOC (Dissolved organic Carbon), CHNS analyzer, automatic analyzer for nutrients, heavy metals- atomic spectrophotometers, and atmospheric deposition. The GIS and modeling laboratory is equipped with needed software for a complete analysis of the results.
Main research topic:
i) Biological ecology (population/species, tropho-dynamic modules, dynamic structure and functions;
ii) Ecosystem ecology (composition, structure, processes and services);
iii) Systems ecology and sustainability (eg. nested socio-ecological systems at large watersheds and the dynamic relationships among their biophysical structure of natural capital and, social and industrial metabolism as well the critical role played by social capital for operationalization the concept of sustainable development).
Main LTER parameters:
Meteorological, water soil and sediment physicochemical parameters, soil respiration, biological compartments (primary producers, consumers, decomposers)