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Biological Sciences

Coral Reef Research

We use walk-in chambers and a state-of-the-art tropical research aquarium facility that are fully climate-controllable for experiments on organisms from microbes to coral.

Our tropical research aquarium is used to grow, fragment, store and support studies on tropical marine organisms. Water quality, temperature, carbonate chemistry and light environment is carefully controlled and monitored. The facility includes:

  • Two isolated large aquaria holding tanks
  • Two shallow fast flowing fragmentation tanks
  • 27 experimental tanks in clusters of three on individual sumps

A broad range of equipment is dedicated to sample analysis including:

  • gas chromotographers
  • mass spectrometers
  • a uPLC

We also have an array of bio-optical equipment:

  • FRR Fastracka I and II
  • Xenon, Diving and PAM fluorometers
  • bench top and field portable spectrophotometers
  • spectrofluorometers
  • LED Flash-Yield systems

Many of these instruments have been either customised or built in-house.

Work in marine sciences is strongly linked with specialised molecular and ‘omics’ facilities and our bioimaging suite. Fieldwork is a major component of our research and we utilise coastal field site facilities, in both the UK and numerous partner institutes overseas, for benthic and pelagic sampling. Our active coral reef field sites that have basic field facilities and support diving based research include:

  • Hoga marine research facility, Wakatobi Biosphere Reserve, Indonesia.
  • Curieuse Marine National Park, Seychelles.
  • Nino Konis Santana National Park, Timor Leste

Where they utilise:

  • field analytical equipment (light, pH, temperature and conductivity meters and automated data loggers)
  • an array of underwater video cameras
  • full face mask with diver-to-diver and diver-to-surface communications equipment
  • in situ benthic mesocosims
  • portable titrators for water carbon chemistry analysis
  • GPS units

Coral Reef Research Unit

Research undertaken by the Coral Reef Research Unit also includes contract work, capacity building workshops, training courses  and envionrmental impact assessments. Academic and technical staff have expertise in:

  • Research based diving with Dive Master and commercial diving qualification
  • Atlantic and Indo-Pacific Coral, and reef fish taxonomy and species identification
  • Environmental Impact Assessment
  • Capacity building, management and impact mitigation

Video: View more about research from our Coral Reef Research Unit