Facilities

Our research facilities and equipment span a range of sectors and disciplines and allow us to carry out cutting-edge marine research. Below are the facilities available to our staff and students that can be use as part of collaborative research projects.

Aquatic Resources Centre

The Aquatic Resources Centre (ARC) is a world-class teaching and research facility containing multiple aquarium rooms that house as many as 20-30 species of aquatic organisms (both marine and freshwater) at any one time. Each particular species lending itself as a suitable research tool to investigate and improve our understanding of basic biological systems, how chemicals entering the environment affect aquatic organisms, monitoring current and predicting future global impacts of ocean acidification and climate change, and measuring aspects of human health.

The facility is supported by seven preparation and laboratory rooms with specialist microscopes, video and imaging equipment, together with automated respirometry and gas control systems that allow for sophisticated developmental, physiological and behavioural research.

A large computer controlled water treatment plant allows us to produce high quality water of any desired salinity and temperatures from 10 to 28 °C.

Exeter Sequencing Service

The Exeter Sequencing Service is a core facility providing state of the art genomics and bioformatics analysis. We promote excellence in training from wet-lab techniques to computational analysis and modelling. We specialise in providing a bespoke service to researchers in academia and industry.

Funding bodies and sponsors

The University of Exeter has invested ocer £3 million in high-throughput DNA sequencing along with dedicated computational facilities. We are generously supported via grants from the Wellcome Trust, MRC, BBSRC and industrial partners

Visit the Exeter Sequencing Service website 

The environmental Single Cell Genomics facility

The environmental Single Cell Genomics facility (eSCG), is a joint venture between the University of Exeter and Plymouth Marine Laboratory (PML), and funded by the Natural Environment Research Council and the Wolfson Foundation.

It has been created to study the genomic characteristics of individual cells without the usual requirement to culture and grow them.

The facility, which boasts cutting-edge cell sorting equipment, liquid handling robotics and molecular biology analysis tools, is housed within an ultraclean room to prevent contamination.

Equipment within the facility can separate and isolate specific individual cells (and viruses) and then characterise their contents using molecular techniques. Used together the possibility exists to study not just what individual cells are present, but also what they are doing and precisely how they are doing it.

It is expected that eSCG will become a focal point for UK and international scientists to unlock the mysteries of unculturable and novel organisms from the environment.

Remote data collection technologies

A wide range of technologies are employed by our researchers to acquire knowledge on the distribution and behaviour of a number of key marine species and habitats. These include satellite tracking, archival data loggers, acoustic detection and tracking, and earth observation remote sensing.

  •  Passive acoustic monitoring is being used to study acoustic habitats, including anthropogenic sound levels, e.g. to assess underwater noise from shipping, as well as for monitoring marine mammal activity, eg, the C-POD detects the echolocation clicks of toothed whales, dolphins and porpoises, and can be used to provided temporal data on animal activity and habitat use.
  • Fisheries biomass estimation using scientific echo sounders (eg, SIMRAD EK80) deployed on towable frames. 
  • Underwater video cameras: Baited remote underwater video systems (BRUVs) are used to monitor mobile species on the seabed. Towed underwater video systems are used for monitoring ecological features on the seabed, and equipment such as the Kongsberg M3 multibeam imaging sonar is used to reveal the fine scale resolution of sea beds.
  • Satellite tracking: Tagging of marine animals to track their movements is revealing when, where and how marine animals travel. Understanding the movements of marine species has a key role to play in marine conservation.

Hydrodynamics and Marine Operations

Our research is supported by an active marine operations team, with experience deploying a range of field testing, hydrodynamic analysis and deployment expertise, providing support to international and national companies and local contractors.

Research areas include marine renewable energy station keeping and fully dynamic mooring simulation requirements, development of offshore test sites and field measurement techniques, best practices for deployment procedures, and power cable dynamics.

Offshore Reliability and Component Testing

The reliability of marine renewable energy installations is one of the main engineering challenges in the sector. The research in this area focuses on methods to assess, model, demonstrate and improve the reliability of components and systems for marine renewable energy applications. For this purpose the University of Exeter has developed a world-leading Dynamic Marine Component test facility (DMaC), following a service simulation test approach. Successfully tested components include novel conventional mooring components, dynamic marine power cables, bend restrictors, power conversion mechanisms for national and international companies and specific research projects.

Resource Assessment

Resource assessment research at the University of Exeter encompasses both physical measurement of the wave and current regime via offshore instrumentation such as wave buoys and ADCPs, and numerical modelling, using state of the art software to predict sea states across the South West. The research group has extensive experience in both these areas, and played a lead role in the development of a protocol for marine energy resource assessment as part of the FP7 EquiMar project.

Facilities and Capabilities

The group has access to conventional laboratory facilities, including materials testing and workshops but also has significant specialist resources applicable to the renewable energy sector. Most of these are unique facilities relating to ocean energy research, power systems and reliability and field studies. These have relevance both for fundamental research and industrial projects. These facilities include:

  • Falmouth Bay nursery test site (FaBTest)
  • South West Mooring Test Facility (SWMTF)
  • Dynamic Marine Component Test Rig (DMaC)
  • Experimental Current Flume
  • Research Vessel, with survey and ROV capabilities

Measurement Instruments and Modelling:

  •  Deep water ADCPs
  • Floating wave buoys
  • High Performance Computing cluster