Our Resources

Cawthron Institute is home to world-class facilities and resources.

Our 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
  • dry-laboratories
  • 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 Seumas Walker.

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.

For more information and to order from the collection click here. 

Cawthron-Cawthron Institute Culture Collection of Microalgae

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.

    Contact details:

    For more information, contact Andy Selwood.

    Cawthron-Cawthron Institute Culture Collection of Microalgae

    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.


    Contact details:

    For more information, contact Jane Symonds

    Cawthron-Finfish Research Centre

    National Algae Research Centre

    The first stage of construction of Cawthron’s National Algae Research Centre (NARC) was completed in May 2021. Based at Cawthron Aquaculture Park in Glenduan, the Centre will be a hub of innovation and knowledge that supports the establishment of New Zealand’s burgeoning seaweed industry.

    Key areas of research focus at the National Algae Research Centre will include: 

    • Extraction of bioactive compounds 
    • Climate change mitigation solutions
    • Seaweed ecology
    • Alternative proteins and sustainable food production
    • Farming systems development (including current Asparagopsis armata research)

    The second stage of the National Algae Research Centre will see a separate facility constructed as part of the new laboratories at the proposed Science and Technology precinct in Nelson. It will enable Cawthron to continue our specialist work in extracting high-value bioactive compounds from microalgae.

    Contact details:

    For more information, contact Johan Svenson

    Cawthron-National Algae Research Centre

    PC2 Laboratory

    Te Wero Aro-anamata is Cawthron’s state-of-the-art aquatic biocontainment facility. The facility, which opened in 2022, is 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.

    This facility enables 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 is 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

    Contact details:

    For more information, contact Kate Hutson

    Cawthron-PC2 Laboratory

    Taxonomy Laboratory

    Cawthron provides expert freshwater taxonomy services and is a recognised leader in macroinvertebrate identification for environmental monitoring.

    For more information about our expertise, services and facilities, please visit our taxonomy services page.


      Contact us 

      Do you have a query about our facilities, capabilities or research services? Get in touch with our team using the form below.