Facilities in the Department of Biosciences

The Department of Biosciences provides access to an extensive range of specialist facilities for both undergraduate and postgraduate students. These include: Research and IT laboratories; Constant temperature rooms; Growth rooms; Aquaria; Greenhouses; Zoology Museum; A custom-designed 12.5m coastal research vessel, RV Noctiluca.

Specialist Research Training Facilities

CSAR Aquatic Research Facility (ERDF/SRIF-funded; 2005) consisting of 750m2 of controlled environment laboratories, with programmable recirculating aquatic systems, unique within the UK’s higher-education sector. These are tailored for research on a diverse range of organisms, ranging from temperate to tropical and marine to freshwater. Coupled with this are nutrient and biochemical analytical capabilities.

SLAM Visualisation Suite (Royal Society Wolfson Laboratory–funded; £1.35M; 2013), incorporating an electronic wall (1.5 X 4 m) linked to a computer-tesla cluster for high-speed processing and visualisation of complex accelerometry and magnetometry data derived from animals. Coupled with this facility is the Electronics Lab with capacity for research, development and realisation of animal tags with new capacities (sensors, energy-harvesting systems, miniaturization, 3-D printing of housings etc.).

Coastal research vessel, RV Noctiluca (JREI funded, originally commissioned in 2001), a 12.5 metre, diesel-powered catamaran equipped with the latest navigation aids enabling offshore operations for several days. The vessel is engaged in a wide range of scientific tasks, from hydrographic assessment to trawling and other forms of bottom sampling.

*Photography by James Kenning

Cruising into a New Era of Marine Biology

Blyth 1From estuaries to the sea shelf, the spectacular coastline of Wales is buzzing with diverse habitats and wildlife, and provides tremendous potential for developing a low carbon, sustainable economy to ensure the well-being of future generations in Wales. 

Swansea University has long been a leader in training Marine Biologists, conducting high impact research, and assisting the conservation and sustainable development of the marine and coastal resources in Wales. Now we are ready to make new waves again! 

Blyth 2Swansea University has invested £1.3m in the construction of a purpose-built 18 m catamaran-class survey vessel. The new vessel can accommodate 26 passengers and have a top speed of 23 kts with cruising at about 16kts, and will be equipped with state-of-the-art survey and research equipment. 

From surveying the coastline to mapping critical habitats, studying water quality, observing marine wildlife and deploying marine equipment, the new vessel will support the best teaching, research and business assistance Swansea University has to offer. The new vessel is scheduled to launch in Dec 2017.

Centre for Sustainable Aquatic Research

Centre for Sustainable Aquatic Research

The Centre for Sustainable Aquatic Research, CSAR, is a centre of excellence founded in 2003 with support from the European Union, Welsh Assembly Government and Swansea University. Equipped with modern, fully programmable recirculating aquaculture systems, CSAR is designed for applied research on a diverse range of aquatic organisms, from temperate to tropical and marine to freshwater environments. 

Visualisation Suite

Visualisation Suite

The SLAM Visualisation Suite has an electronic wall (1.5 X 4 m) linked to a computer-tesla cluster for high speed processing and visualisation of complex accelerometry and magnetometry data derived from animals. The suite uses bespoke ‘smart-tags’ with bespoke software to understand the ‘rules’ behind animal movement and their consequences, dealing with issues ranging from the micro-movements of people belaying ‘state’ to trans-continental animal migrations.

Tag Construction Laboratory

Tag Construction Laboratory

The Tag Construction Lab is set up for research, development and realisation of animal tags with new capacities to study the causes and consequences of animal movement by using animal-attached technology. Work involves sensors, energy-harvesting systems, and miniaturization of electronics as well as 3-D printing technology and testing of housings so that tags can be constructed to be robust whilst having minimal impact on their wearers.

The Arthropod Behavioural Laboratory

The Arthropod Behavioural Laboratory

The Arthropod Behavioural Lab is used to monitor the behaviour of insects using conventional video-cameras as well as animal-attached sensors such as accelerometers developed in the Tag Construction Laboratory and analysed in the visualisation suite. Projects include the reaction of insect pests to semio-chemicals and assessment of behavioural cues that relate to ‘state’.

Endocrinology Research Laboratory

Endocrinology Research Lab

The Endocrinology Research Lab is specialised in non-invasive hormone analysis and tackles timely questions in general and behavioural endocrinology. Work involves the quantification of various hormones (e.g. reproductive and stress hormones) in water, hair, saliva, and faecal samples, collected from a wide range of species from fish to humans.

State-of-the-art facilities


The College of Science has also invested £4.2m on a suite of state-of-the-art Science laboratories and teaching rooms.  The facility, which includes Physics laboratories, Biological Sciences laboratories, Geology laboratories, a novel group teaching laboratory and an IT suite, have been refurbished as part of the University’s ongoing commitment to enhance the learning and teaching environment.  The laboratories comprise a full range of AV facilities able to transmit output from a variety of sources including microscopes, PCs, DVD players and visualise/camera units to several plasma screens.  The facilities comply with all DDA requirements and include Induction Loops for students with hearing difficulties and adjustable benches for disabled students. The refurbishment has resulted in significantly upgraded facilities to teach a higher level of transferable laboratory techniques and skills.