The Marine Environment Research Laboratory is the Institute’s marine site at Machrihanish near Campbelltown on the Kintyre peninsula. Established in 1992 the facilities comprise:
- a fully serviced research laboratory, complete with fume cupboard and open plan office space.
- several large tankhouse buildings containing tanks for holding stock and experimental cold water marine species such as Atlantic salmon, ballan wrasse, lumpfish and marine invertebrates.
- a renovated lifeboat station, with conference room upstairs and dedicated marine invertebrate systems downstairs.
This versatile facility pumps and filters 6,000m3 seawater 24 hours a day and hosts a wide range of academic and contract research, including pharmaceutical development for salmonid aquaculture to Good Laboratory Practice (GLP) standard. We have a total of 151 flow-through and recirculation tanks ranging from 0.1m3 – 13m3 (mainly Circular GRP tanks of 1 to 4 m diameter) and equipped with environmental monitoring and a liquid oxygen supply. Research tank systems are set up in groups of x12, x15, x18 and x24 tanks, to provide maximum flexibility for running studies where replication of treatment groups is required. Bespoke systems can be built to meet requirements for size, water quality, feeding, lighting and other variables. Seawater can be filtered, sterilised and temperature controlled.
Experimental tank systems are fitted with:
- 24 hour automatic feeding systems (Arvotec),
- 24 hour, alarmed, in-tank dissolved oxygen and temperature monitoring system (Oxyguard),
- 24 hour programmable Biolumen LED lighting,
- feed and faeces collection,
- water filtration, down to 50 microns.
- UV sterilization,
- Dissolved oxygen delivery systems.
Where required, bespoke systems can also be built to meet requirements for size, water quality, feeding, lighting and other variables.
MERL is a Good Laboratory Practice accredited facility, governed by the MHRA and capable of running studies to both GLP and GCP standards.
MERL is covered by the University of Stirling’s Home Office Establishment Licence and, as such, is fully compliant with UK Home Office legislation.
The facilities regularly host a wide range of academic and contract research, including pharmaceutical development for salmonid aquaculture to Good Laboratory Practice (GLP) standard (Target Animal Safety, Pharmacokinetic and Efficacy studies), digestibility and nutrition studies, performance, selective breeding/genetics, environmental control and the testing of new aquaculture innovations.
MERL also offers well-established challenge models and facilities for sea lice and amoebic gill disease (AGD).
To access the aquarium facilities at MERL select the service “Marine site at Institute of Aquaculture UoS” in the ARIA application form.