The Laboratory for Experimental Ecology and Evolution (LE3) (McGill University, Canada) is a unique integrated facility that will deliver powerful new systems to address fundamental issues of great scientific, social and economic concern. The technological core of the proposal is the application of highly automated robotic systems to experiments in ecology and evolution. The robotic systems of LE3 will allow us to handle far more lines and to transfer them more rapidly and precisely than has been possible before, making it practicable to emulate long-term, large-scale phenomena. LE3 is planned as an integrated facility used by several existing research groups. It is not merely the expansion of individual labs, but a genuinely cooperative venture that is specifically intended to create and support new research collaborations. The experiments that we propose often involve a constellation of skills and techniques, ranging from controlled environment design to low-metal technology, and from foodweb analysis to genomics. Most are beyond the capacity of any single laboratory, and can be tackled only within a facility like LE3. The research that LE3 will make possible not only builds on the strength of existing programs, but will enable them to be combined and extended so that qualitatively different kinds of experiment become practicable.
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