Since 2005 the research platform "Chicken Creek" offers multiple opportunities to explore the initial phase of ecosystem development starting from a well defined "point zero". Situated in the post mining area of a lignite open-cast mine in Lower Lusatia (eastern Germany) optimum conditions for interdisciplinary ecosystem research are available.
The ongoing primary succession is not influenced by anthropogenic measurements so that self-organization of ecosystems as well as the development of structural elements and patterns can be observed in both terrestrial and aquatic sub-systems. The construction of the 6 ha large site allows for the development of a local groundwater body enabling investigations of feedbacks between e.g. hydrological and geomorphic or botanic structural elements. In addition, the formation of a pond was allowed to elucidate interactions between terrestrial and aquatic sub-systems.
The worlwide unique oportunities offered by the artificial watershed Chicken Creek provide a basis for different research projects. An overview of currently running and already finished research projects at the Chicken Creek catchment is available here.
The evolution of the Chicken Creek Catchment is observed by a comprehensive ecological monitoring program since September 2005. Data is available for all research partners of the Chicken Creek platform. Monitoring results are published freely accessible in the "Ecosystem Development" series. An interactive overview of monitoring instrumentation with details on measuring methods is available here.
A webcam illustrates the situation of the Chicken Creek Catchment daily. The recent picture is available here (external Link):
The research platform Chicken Creek catchment is part of the global Critical Zone Exploration Network (CZEN).