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Portobello Marine Laboratory

The Portobello Marine Lab lies in the middle of Otago Harbour, on the Portobello Peninsula.  It was constructed atop an existing fish hatchery, to allow for state-of-the-art marine research.

The original hatchery ponds still hold water and animals as needed.  The main research lab allows for most wet tasks, including experimentation with live organisms, controlled temperature experiments, microscopy, chemical analyses, biochemistry (PC1), animal physiology and histology labs.  We also maintain a reference collection, research library, computers and study area for research students, and staff/visitor offices.

In 2016 a brand new 42-seat teaching laboratory was constructed and the first classes were taught in the new facility in July 2017.

Other buildings on site include a field gear store, mechanical workshop, Resident Technician's cottage, student accommodation, and an aquaculture centre.  The New Zealand Marine Studies Centre is immediately next door offering marine education to the general public and schools.

The Laboratory has its own a wharf and boats of various types and sizes are available for fieldwork.  There is lift access and stairs to all floors and to sea-level facilities.

New Zealand Marine Studies Centre

The New Zealand Marine Studies Centre (NZMSC) is the public face of the Marine Science Department.  It strives to lead public marine education in New Zealand and to foster understanding, appreciation and responsible management of New Zealand's unique marine environment.

The NZMSC, based at Portobello, was opened in 1998 and incorporated the public aquarium (New Zealand's first public marine aquarium, dating back to the 1930s).  In 2012 the main aquarium closed to the public and was demolished in 2016 to make way for the new teaching laboratory.  There is no longer a public aquarium at Portobello, but the NZMSC continues to run education programmes in the newer facilities on the Portobello site.

The facility offers fully equipped laboratories, a seminar room, marine aquarium tanks, marine displays, computers, and catering facilities.

Research vessels

The Department of Marine Science oversees four vessels in safe ship management which are available for research and teaching activities.

Research equipment

Details on available vessels and research equipment (PDF)

Research stations

The University owns field stations on Stewart Island and in Deep Cove, Doubtful Sound, Fiordland.

We often mount multi-user expeditions, so please register your interest and options for potential vessel or field station sharing (even if you don't think you can raise the funds to cover a full expedition but have a research interest), to enable us to bring a team together to help share costs.

Please contact us direct for vessel enquiries.

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