Metatron, nature in cages
Metatron is a unique experimental instrument in the world. Located at the CNRS Experimental Ecology Station in Moulis in the Ariège department, France, it is used to investigate the evolution of species in response to climate change. Jean Clobert, the station's director, and several of its researchers explain the experiments currently carried out in this research centre.
Established in an estate of some 10 acres, it includes 48 cages of about 120 sq. yards each, which are interconnected by 76 corridors. The climate in each cage is controlled remotely by a computer programme that changes the temperature, humidity or solar radiation by shading or watering. Through the study of animal models such as the lizard and the butterfly, this sophisticated setup makes it possible to observe the effects of climate variations on these species and their adaptation strategies to these changes.