The Theoretical and Experimental Ecology Station (SETE) is a joint research center of the CNRS (National Center for Scientific Research) and Paul Sabatier University in Toulouse. SETE is based in France, in the picturesque Ariège region in a village called Moulis, in the foothills of the Pyrenees mountain range, about 100 km south of Toulouse.




The laboratory was first founded in 1948 to study physical and biological aspects of underground cave systems. In 2007, it was turned into an experimental ecology station, and in 2016, it became the current Theoretical and Experimental Ecology Station (SETE).

SETE from above


Today, around 60 people are based permanently at SETE, including researchers, engineers, administration staff and PhD students. The station focuses its research on exciting new developments in theoretical and experimental ecology, in particular on the effects of biodiversity changes, climate change, and habitat fragmentation. It is equipped with a number of advanced laboratory and experimental facilities such as the Metatron.



The Centre for Biodiversity Theory and Modelling (CBTM) was created in 2012 to add a unique theoretical dimension to the experimental research at the station. The Ecological Networks and Global Change research group joined in 2014.

Research at the Centre focuses on the development of unifying theories and predictive models of biodiversity changes and their ecological, evolutionary, and societal causes and consequences.

View from the 'Char de Moulis'


The Area

The station is set in modern buildings surrounded by scenic views of mountains and forests. It is an ideal location for visitors who like nature with many outdoor activities and a wealth of cultural sites to discover, dating back to roman times.

Bethmale Valley Chapel in Galey
Midi de Bordes’ Peak


Paragliding in Moulis
View of Saint Lizier
Rich wildlife