Cawthron Institute is home to world-class facilities and resources.
Cawthron Institute is home to world-class facilities and resources.
Based in Nelson, New Zealand, Cawthron Institute is equipped with nationally significant laboratory facilities and is home to several centres of research excellence. Our resources support publicly-funded science that supports New Zealand’s primary industries and protects our environment. We are also equipped with resources that enable us to offer world-class research services to our wide range of private clients.
Cawthron Aquaculture Park
Located 15 minutes from Nelson’s CBD, Cawthron Aquaculture Park is a world-class research and technology centre for the New Zealand aquaculture sector and its stakeholders. It’s a shared facility, purpose-built for aquaculture research, education and commercial development.
Fully-serviced land units are available to lease, which are well suited to aquaculture activities. The site holds all the necessary permits for aquaculture activities, the pond and buildings, and the seawater take and discharge.
On-site facilities are equipped with:
- purpose designed wet-laboratories
- intensive algae culture facilities
- a nursery building serviced by managed algae ponds, offices and amenities.
Covering 20 hectares, the park already hosts aquaculture industry firms, teaching labs operated by the Nelson Marlborough Institute of Technology, and Cawthron’s own aquaculture and biotechnology research group.
Contact the Cawthron Aquaculture Park
Phone +64 3 545 0127 or email Dr Serean Adams.
Cawthron Institute Culture Collection of Microalgae
The Cawthron Institute Culture Collection of Microalgae (CICCM) is a nationally significant living collection which underpins research worldwide, and supports vital work to ensure the safety of New Zealand seafood. The only one of its kind in New Zealand, the collection is highly ranked in the Asia-Pacific region, and is a member of the Asia Oceania Algae Collection network.
The collection currently contains:
- 14 classes of marine and freshwater microalgae including several species that are unique to New Zealand or have properties not found in overseas containments.
- more than 300 cryopreserved strains of toxic microalgae and cyanobacteria
- a living collection of 300 isolates.
To order from the collection:
Cawthron offers microalgae identification for marine and freshwater through our marine toxin analysis services.
Cawthron Natural Compounds
Cawthron Natural Compounds (CNC) is a well-equipped research facility managed by Cawthron’s Algae & Bioactives group. It is devoted to the production of bioactive natural products. Cawthron Institute scientists work closely with industry and academic partners to identify and valorise New Zealand bioactive compounds with the goal of adding value to our ocean economy. Cawthron supports the entire bioactives value chain, from initial discovery and characterisation, to pilot scale production and synthetic modification of leads and can provide a wide set of expert services and special products.
A range of bioactive toxins are thus regularly isolated and used to generate analytical standards or reagents and we are a global commercial supplier of toxin references and standards, producing on demand at high purities. The majority of the compounds produced are microalgal toxins involved in paralytic shellfish poisoning but additional toxins from both bacterial and terrestrial sources are also frequently produced for commercial and academic customers.
For more information, contact Andy Selwood.
Finfish Research Centre
Cawthron Aquaculture Park is home to New Zealand’s only dedicated Finfish Research Centre (FRC), opened in 2018 with funding support from the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment (MBIE). The Finfish Research Centre delivers commercially relevant science to enable improved stock management, breeding, and husbandry and supports the development and growth of New Zealand’s aquaculture industry.
The FRC directly supports Cawthron Institute’s delivery of the MBIE-funded Efficient Salmon Research Programme, combining new, innovative analytical tools with industry-wide data analysis, environmental monitoring, and controlled trials.
The knowledge generated through this research has supported improved selective breeding of finfish, boosting production efficiency, leading to greater economic returns and sustainable environmental management.
National Algae Research Centre
Construction of Cawthron’s new National Algae Research Centre (NARC) began in 2020, and is expected to be complete in 2021. Supported by the Provincial Growth Fund, the NARC will act as a bridge from science to industry, connecting R&D to commercial application.
This facility, located at Cawthron Aquaculture Park, will allow our scientists to further explore the economic and environmental value of different seaweed species, contributing to achieving the government’s target of aquaculture becoming a $3bn industry by 2035.
A separate facility will begin construction in 2021 to continue Cawthron’s specialist work in extracting high-value bioactive compounds from microalgae, which will also form part of the National Algae Research Centre.
Cawthron Institute will begin construction of a PC2-level laboratory in 2021. The facility will be equipped to undertake pathogen-related research targeting known aquatic bacteria, viruses and parasites in New Zealand. Research of this nature protects New Zealand’s environment and our seafood industry from biosecurity threats including pests and disease.
A PC2 laboratory will also enable safe and secure research into new aquaculture species which could be commercialised in New Zealand in the future and will require health R&D alongside productivity-focused commercial research.
The facility will be equipped to conduct R&D in the following areas:
- Pest/Pathogen identification
- Pest threshold and prediction
- Transmission studies
- Species susceptibility trials
- Treatment strategies
- Potency studies
- Salmon vaccine development
- Breeding for disease resistance
- Future proofing
Cawthron provides extensive marine and freshwater taxonomy services and is a recognised leader in macroinvertebrate identification for environmental monitoring.
Our taxonomy scientists and technicians are highly experienced in the identification and ecology of New Zealand and overseas fauna for monitoring, biosecurity and offshore activities including the oil and gas, and aquaculture sectors.
Our capability in this area includes:
- Taxonomy services for environmental assessment, consents and permits
- Marine and estuarine fauna
- Freshwater fauna
- Molecular tools and analysis
- Industry training
Our Taxonomy Laboratory offers:
- Specialist expertise in invertebrate taxonomy, particularly New Zealand marine benthic invertebrate macrofauna, phytoplankton and zooplankton
- Extensive experience responding to environmental assessment, consents and permit requirements
- Quality assurance work and peer reviews
- Extensive laboratory capability including photo microscopy and large scale sample data entry
- An extensive marine and freshwater species reference collection
- Separate safe and secure facilities for storing samples
Do you have a query about our facilities, capabilities or research services? Get in touch with our team using the form below.