ICOS Belgium    


Welcome to ICOS Belgium

The Ecosystem Thematic Center -

The Ecosystem Thematic Center is hosted by three different partner institutes:

  • The University of Tuscia with the euroMediterranean Center on Climate Change (CMCC) in Italy (coordinator)
  • The Research Group of Plant and Vegetation Ecology, University of Antwerp in Belgium
  • The French National Institute for Agricultural Research (INRA) in Bordeaux, France

The three institutions have signed a Memorandum of Understanding to jointly realize the ETC.

The ETC coordinates and supports the ICOS Ecosystem sites by:

  • Coordinating, training and providing technical assistance to the ICOS Ecosystem sites
  • Developing and testing new measurement methods and instruments
  • Calculating, correcting and processing the data coming from the ICOS Ecosystem sites
  • Developing new methods for data processing
  • Database management

The ETC is organized in four main units with specific tasks:

Coordination Unit

  • Communication and interaction with the ICOS ecosystem stations, the other Central Facilities and the ICOS Head Office
  • Assessments of the ETC operations within the ICOS Research Infrastructure (ICOS RI)
  • Reports to ICOS European Research Infrastructure Consortium (ICOS ERIC)

Data Unit

  • Data processing and quality control
  • Development of new exploration and validation tools
  • Real time alert services to report problems in the data received from the ICOS Ecosystem sites

Test Unit

  • Testing, evaluating and developing new sensors and new measurement and data processing methodologies
  • Engaging the scientific community through specific Working Groups
  • Interacting with instrument manufactures
  • Will develop a roving system service for parallel validation measurements at the ICOS Ecosystem sites

Network Unit

  • Ecosystem network coordination and assistance
  • Training sessions and meetings with staff ICOS Ecosystem sites
  • Evaluation of performance ICOS Ecosystem sites
  • Collects, analyzes and stores soil and vegetation samples

Three types of data are collected at the ICOS Ecosystem sites:

Flux and meteorological measurements are carried out continuously and automatically

Ancillary data is collected at specific time intervals

Plant and soil samples are collected for laboratory analyses at specific time intervals

All measurements must be performed according to the ICOS standards, written in measurement protocols.


The ETC-Antwerp collects and processes the ancillary data from the ICOS Ecosystem sites. Besides flux and meteorological records, many ecological parameters are measured: vegetation and soil characteristics, biomass, phenology, disturbances, management, land use... The ancillary data are processed and standardized to obtain data that can be analyzed and interpreted by the scientific community. ETC-Antwerp carries out the quality control of the data and develops and tests the measurement protocols for ancillary data to ensure the standardization of measurements of the ICOS RI. The ETC-Antwerp provides assistance and shares its expertise through trainings and workshops organized for the scientific and technical staff working at the ICOS Ecosystem sites.

Four staff members are currently working at the ETC.

Project Manager

Scientific Staff

Database Manager

Photo: ICOS ETC Belgium

From left to right: dr. Nicola Arriga, prof. dr. Ivan Janssens, dr. Bert Gielen, Fred Kockelbergh, dr. Marilyn Roland, prof. dr. Reinhart Ceulemans, Jan Segers, Thi Minh Tu Nguyen, dr. Maarten Op de Beeck and Emmy Jacobs