Experimental Facilities | - CCMAR -

Experimental Facilities

Aquaria and culture facilities of micro and macro-organisms are at the heart of CCMAR's marine research capability and experience. 
We provide a wide range of facilities for holding, rearing and experimental work in cold, cold temperate, warm temperate and subtropical water species.

Our facilities include mesocosms, bioreactors and licensed tanks for the maintenance of marine vertebrates. Facilities enable the manipulation of environmental conditions (e.g. temperature, pH, and light).

Ramalhete Marine station

Ramalhete is located inside the Ria Formosa lagoon National Park, a unique coastal mesotidal lagoon, separated from the ocean by a system of barrier islands and inlets, with very high biodiversity and an ideal natural laboratory protected by national and international legislation.

The station is a versatile infrastructure with tanks to keep live organisms and large outdoor mesocosms. Wet laboratories are available with tanks of various sizes and controlled environment enabling a variety of experiments with larvae and juveniles of several fish species such as nutrition, behavior, general and specific physiology including acidification.

It consists of 500 m2 of indoor tanks, isolated rooms for studies that require environmental control or behaviour, wet and dry laboratories, CO2 for simulating oceanic acidification scenarios and a 900 m2 outdoor area is used for larger volume tanks and other needs. 

Tanks and space can be adapted to fulfill specific experimental needs as temperature control, photoperiod, light intensity, or salinity.

Other controlled facilities are available for short periods in closed systems with illumination and AVAC control, under request.

Dry and wet labs near technology platforms.

Transport from CCMAR (Gambelas Campus of the University of Algarve) to Ramalhete Marine Station and return is available during working days.

Mesocosms for acidification studies
This facility is a marine infrastructure, incorporating three complementary mesocosm systems:

Outdoor system, modular, with up to 40 independent flow-through 100 L tanks. Each experimental tank is linked to a dedicated head-tank, allowing true replication and random distribution of treatment levels across the system.

The experimental tanks were conceived to accommodate rooted marine plants (seagrasses) but are easily adaptable to other organisms. CO2-enriched air is prepared in a 5000 L reservoir (IRGA-controlled mixture) and bubbled in the individual head-tanks.

Indoor system, with similar design and operating principle, fitted with 30 L aquaria and artificial light

Outdoor system, 200 L flow-through experimental tanks. Water is supplied from a single head-tank, where pH is used to regulate CO2 injection.

Controlled Parameters: pCO2, pH, water-flow, nutrient concentrations, light levels
Equipment Control systems based on real-time CO2 analysis, alkalinity titrators, water chemistry sensors.


Aquatic model organisms facility

Facility for aquatic fish models maintenance/experimentation consists of several housing systems with racks and water treatment Units (WTU) with reverse osmosis system.

Micro Injection Set

CCMAR has a micro injection set laboratory equipped with microinjection systems (microinjector, micromanipulator, stereomicroscopes), needle puller & needle grinder, Fluorescence microscope and fluorescence stereomicroscope, Incubators (28,5 ºC), and a fridge.

Environmental controlled chambers laboratory

CCMAR offers a set of 3 Bio Climatic chambers (one Bio climatic chamber 600 and two Bioclimatic chamber 1200) with several environmental simulation possibilities.

Used for Biotechnology, Aquaculture or other Life Science studies (eg. tissue culture / in-vitro, microalgae research, plant growth, microalgae stock maintenance) the bio climatic chambers are easily programmable for different environmental simulations with many options of lights and accessories. 

Lights can range from day like “white” spectra, or customized spectra ranging from UV to Far Red and all the Blue, Green and Red in between.

There are even solutions for managing spectra inside the same chamber. Shelves can be easily removed, exchanged or adjustable in height, making them adaptable to new research scenarios.

A BSL2 laminar flow chamber is available in the room for sample preparation in a clean environment.


Bioreactors for large scale microalgae production

CCMAR has a system of 4 photobioreactors for the production of Microalgae, composed by:
- 3 Closed Tubular Photobioreactors, with 1.000 litres capacity each, with nominal diameters ranging from 50 mm to 75 mm, resistant to chemicals, salt water, and pressures up to 10 Bar inserted into stainless steel support structures with sectioning valves to ensure flow control,
- 1 photobioreactor - Green Wall type - consisting of a structure of green metallic net with 10 m width and 1 m height to support the Green Wall bags with aeration tube for supply of air and CO2 and a tube for thermoregulation of the system similar to a traditional irrigation system.
- Each photobioreactor consists of a booster group, a photic circuit and a degasser with a nominal capacity of 500 L. Each unit has a pH and temperature controller with a compact pH probe, a CO2 controller and a cooling system.

The Microalgae Production Park of CCMAR aims at conducting microalgae cultivation experiments on a pilot scale, in natural environmental conditions of outdoor lighting and temperature, with access to freshwater or saltwater. 

This system allows microalgae from various aquatic environments to be cultivated all year round, producing sufficient biomass to investigate its use for different purposes :
1) food, as there are microalgae that can be used for human food and can be included in fish feed,
2) biomedicine, as several microalgae contain bioactive compounds with application in the therapy of some medical conditions,
3) cosmetics, as some are already marketed for this purpose, due to their antioxidant and anti-inflammatory capacity,
4) scientific, in order to study the physiology of microalgae in photobioreactors under external conditions with regard to the effect of temperature, pH, salinity, the composition of the culture medium and the strain to be used.

For more information contact: ccmarcts@ualg.pt