Credit: CsZ


13 Feb 2024

Labs and equipment

magyar zászló

Research labs and equipment of the department

Artificial stream laboratory - where experimental results are born

Our experimental flume system, which functions as an “artificial stream” with an area of 8×2.4 meters and is unique in the country and in Central Europe, is located in a separate basement laboratory room. The system can be operated with 12 high-performance rotary pumps and electronic, automatic / manual water flow regulator (PLC). Controlled environmental conditions are provided by fluorescent LED tubes emitting nature identical light and high performance air conditioners. The riverbed formation and meandering can be shaped with sliding sidewalls, the amount (up to a depth of max. 50 cm) and quality (from fine particle sizes to large stones) of sediment, and the water flow (10-1200 l / min, max. 5% deviation) can be varied over a wide range. If required, continuous video recording, remote monitoring, and remote intervention are all possible. Also, timed measurement of various water quality parameters can be performed with the help of installable probes.


The system can be combined in different ways: Modeling real dimensions, using it as a single streambed depending on the change in width, length and meandering, 0.8-2.4m bed width and up to 22m bed length, while as three parallel beds a maximum width of 0.8m and a length of ≤7.2m can be achieved. In these cases, the same amount of continuously mixing water rotates in the system. It is also possible to create four completely separate water systems on a smaller scale (0.8m × 2.4m), in which different discharge, velocity and water quality can be set and run at the same time. In each bed different separation chambers and other unique devices can be placed, further increasing the ways and variability of use.

The above mentioned parameters provide opportunities for behavioral ecology and microhabitat selection studies, exploration of biotic interactions (eg inter- and intraspecific competition) with various groups of organisms and in combinations, pollution tolerance studies, development of water quality monitoring tests, production biology studies, leaf litter decomposition studies. Its educational use is also diverse, e.g. for the above topics short- and long-term laboratory experiments can be planned within a pratical framework, as well as it provides an inexhaustible repository of thesis and dissertation topics. The laboratory also gave place to three 650-liter standing water tanks, in which experiments of different purposes and configurations can also be planned, or even used in the management of individuals and populations of flowing water experiments.

Pictures from the stream lab (our previous Facebook posts on the topic):



Field and laboratory measuring instruments, probes, data loggers

With the help of our devices that enable the modern measurement, monitoring of the physicochemical and some biological parameters of water, which can be used in field and in laboratory, also during experiments, more than 100 water quality parameters can be measured in a contemporary way.

  • YSI Exo2 multiparameter water quality monitoring sonde
  • Nanocolor VIS portable photometer
  • Nanocolor Vario C2 thermoblock
  • Sontek Flowtracker acoustic Doppler 3D water velocimeter
  • Globalwater FP111 propeller water flow probe
  • HOBO UL20-04 temperature and pressure loggers
  • UOVision UM595-3G scouting cameras as phototraps
  • Hanna HI 9142 Portable dissolved oxygen concentration meter
  • Hanna HI 98130 Combined pH, EC and TDS tester


Field sampling tools


“Kick and sweep” and “classic pondnet” type hand nets for various faunistic and quantitative samplings


“Surber” type sampler for quantitative sampling of stream-dwelling community.


Dredge nets: to pattern sediment fauna of larger rivers.


Catamaran boat (K-maxxi 4.7m + Tohatsu MFS9.9EPL): used for work on larger rivers and lakes


“Ekman-Birge” type bottom grab for studying the sediment fauna of lakes.


Custom-developed sediment drill for sampling dried-up stream beds.


Haver & Boecker 30 cm diameter three-part (0.5 mm, 2 mm, 10 mm) stainless steel set of sieves for pre-sorting and volume reduction of samples on the field.


Drift nets for sampling chironomid pupal exuviae in large rivers.


Various types of fish-, bottle- and floating traps for trapping predatory aquatic insects.

Macro and microscopes

The identification takes place in a small laboratory specially designed for this purpose. It can accommodate up to 8 people at a time, where state-of-the-art macro and microscopes are available for research tasks, equipped with cameras and computer connections, so photo documentation of more interesting specimens can be made in one go.


Olympus MVX10
MVPLAPO 0.63 X + MVPLAPO 2 XC lenses (magnification 4x-125x)
Olympus SC50 Camera
Märzhäuser MFD motorized Z-axis + Märzhäuzer Tango controller
Led circle and spot lights
Focus stacking procedure used for photographing living beings, taking detailed photos, performing identification tasks that require high magnification and precise preparation.


Leica Wild M420
Zeiss KL1500lcd cold light
Olympus SC50 Camera

For species-level identification of aquatic macroinvertebrates


Leica Wild M3Z
Zeiss KL1500lcd cold light

For species-level identification of aquatic macroinvertebrates.


Olympus CX43
Olympus SC50 Camera

Primarily for the examination of chironomid and pupal exuviae samples, species-level identification.


Inverse microscope

For processing and counting algological samples, but examination of any mounted specimen.


16 additional low-capacity binocular mounting microscopes (Olympus, Motic, Zeiss, etc.)
Primarily suitable for sample sorting and mounting, but at certain groups of organisms also for family, genus and species-level identification.


Canon EOS 2000D DSLR
Yongnuo YN 14EX ETTL makro ring flash
Jackal Cross tripod

For image analysis-based biomass determination, taking photos on sorted samples.

MaMi - Self-developed sample processing manager application

mamiOur self-developed web application helps us in our daily work organizing and documenting the processing of samples. Based on QR codes, it keeps track of which sample is at who and in which processing phase it is currently, or in which refrigerator it is waiting for the next phase, or it has already reached archived status. Any of our co-workers can launch queries on a sample, sample group, process, co-worker, storage, so at any time we have 'real time' data about the processes. We are in great need of this, as we occasionally work with a large number of sample and materials from several parallel projects.