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24, chemin de Borde Rouge -Auzeville - CS52627 31326 Castanet Tolosan cedex - France

Last update: May 2021

Menu Logo Principal CNRS-INEE Allenvi RECOTOX

RECOTOX, initiative for research in ecotoxicology-toxicology

ZABR, Ardières-Morcille experimental site

ZABR, Ardières-Morcille experimental site

The Ardières-Morcille experimental site belongs to the Rhône Basin Long term Environmental Research Observatory in link with river governance structures. Located in the Rhone Bassin, it studies and tries to limit the negative impacts of anthropization, especially wine growing, on aquatic ecosystems functioning.

For further information, go to the Ardières-Morcille website at the bottom of this page.

Profile :

The Adières-Morcille experimental site belongs to the Rhône Basin Long term Environmental Research Observatory (ZABR) which comprises a set of observatories and experimental sites (ex : SIPIBEL, Mountain lakes observatory…) devoted to a better understanding and management of the Rhône river bassin. The Ardières-Morcille experimental site was set up in 1987 by the Cemagref, the Regional Service for water use and supply and the Beaujolais Development Committee. It moved to the ZABR in 2007 (it has been labelled SOERE ZA in 2001). Among the other experimental sites and observatories of the ZABR, the Ardières-Morcille experimental site was chosen firstly to be part of the RECOTOX network because of :

  • the anteriority and  history of the research on this site on the fate and effects of pesticides used in agriculture,
  • the interest of the multidisciplinary approach developed which considers the fate-exposition-impacts chain.

Moreover, researches on the Ardières-Morcille experimental site contributes to the Buffer Zone Working group created in 2011 on the ONEMA initiative in order to provide operationnal tools to better understand and establish buffer zones in watersheds to limit the diffuse agricultural pollutions of rivers.


Location of the Ardières-Morcille experimental site of the Rhone Bassin Long Term Environmental Research Observatory

Location of the Ardières-Morcille experimental site of the Rhone Bassin Long Term Environmental Research Observatory (source :

RECOTOX site characteristics :

The Ardières-Morcille experimental site consits of two nested catchments : the Morcille catchment (8 km²) and the Ardières catchment (150 km²). Located northwest of Lyon in continental climate, the Ardières-Morcille experimental site is characterized by intensive farming and especially wine growing. It is representative of the agricultural, soil and climatic conditions of central and northern Beaujolais. The first studies (since 1987) were done on the Morcille sub-catchment which is now equipped with long-term hydrometeorological stations  and long-term study sub-sites. The recent studies on the Ardières catchment (since 2011) enable to adress the question of scaling up but also to broaden the chemical pression and to mobilise various stakeholders.

Contribution to RECOTOX dynamics :

The Ardières-Morcille experimental site aims to better understand and limit the negative consequences of wine growing on aquatic ecosystems. Four research themes are crossed on this experimental site. They tackle the various links of the fate-exposition-impacts chain within an inter-disciplinary approach and at different degrees :

  • Observation and modelling of hydric transfers of pesticides,
  • Characterization of river contamination,
  • Estimation of the impacts of pesticides on aquatic ecosystems and their recovery capacity (resilience),
  • Development of methods and tools to help public decision-makers to understand and use the research results.

The co-existence of both scientific questions and socio-economic issues on Ardières-Morcille experimental site is one of the originality of this ZABR site. For exemple it studies the « resistance » of local stakeholders to changes.


Contact : Véronique GOUY,


Website :


Hosting organization : Irstea, Centre Lyon Villeurbanne - UR MAEP