Plain of Jars – the world’s oldest man-made biological experiment

In central Laos, thousands of large stone jars have been left from ancient burial rituals. Together, these jars form a massive biological experiment: for 2000 years, rainwater has interacted with geology to create unique yet perfectly replicated ecosystems that include organisms ranging from microbes to aquatic plants.

The unprecedented age and high number of replicates offers a unique opportunity for unfolding one of ecology’s long-standing questions: What shapes biological communities?

Using novel sampling techniques, the project will strengthen the understanding of the importance of environmental conditions and habitat isolation for biodiversity in aquatic ecosystems.


Name Title Phone E-mail
Lars Båstrup-Spohr Assistant Professor - Tenure Track +4535321166 E-mail
Ole Pedersen Professor +4523747641 E-mail

Funded by

Villum Fonden logo

Period: 2020-2022
Principal Investigator:
Assistant Prof. Lars Båstrup-Spohr


Assistant Prof. Lars Båstrup-Spohr
Freshwater Biology Section
Universitetsparken 4
DK-2100 Copenhagen Ø
Phone: +45 3532 1166

External members

Name Title Affiliation
Lars Lønsmann Iversen Assistant professor CMEC, UCPH