Lowestoft laboratory © M. Page
The Lowestoft laboratory is our corporate
headquarters: where our Finance, Commercial, HR, Communications, IT
Services and Governance teams are based. In addition, our main
library is situated there.
Our modern computer and analytical capabilities are used to
develop fisheries and hydrographic models. A dedicated
micro-electronics team designs and develops miniature data-loggers
and telemetry systems for environmental and industrial-monitoring
The Lowestoft facility also has controlled-environment rooms for
marine and freshwater ecotoxicology and a wide range of
biological-effects work. It is equipped with sophisticated
instrumentation for environmental research and monitoring, and
houses a range of specialist laboratories:
- Plankton analysis: high-power, inverted
microscopes (linked to video cameras and display equipment), plus a
range of low-power, binocular microscopes are available in this
- Otolith processing: contains precision-cutting
equipment with diamond blades and digital control to 0.01mm.
Mounting cabinets with CCTV monitors enable the exact alignment of
otoliths and precision-made moulds.
- Molecular biology: fingerprinting
analyses for bacteria, archaeobacteria,
microalgae and fish is possible using polymerase chain
reaction (PCR), denaturing gel electrophoresis, cloning, sequencing
analyses and ribosomal intergenic spacer analysis techniques in
this laboratory. Our expertise also covers the counting and
identification of phytoplankton functional groups and some
characteristic species using high-speed analytical flow cytometry.
The isolation and cultivation of microalgae is also
- Radioanalytical: equipped with the latest
alpha, beta and gamma radiation counting systems for the
quantitative assay of a wide range of radionuclides.
- Chemistry: contains a wide variety of
spectro-photometric and chromatographic equipment. Atomic
fluorescence are employed in the ultra-trace determination of
inorganic and organic contaminants.
- Benthic ecology: equipped with a wet room for
benthic faunal sample processing and a laboratory for biomassing
and identification, utilising our reference collection of specimens
and extensive taxonomic literature.
- Sedimentology: a Malvern mastersizer and
sieving techniques are used to undertake particle size analysis and
sediment prepartion for trace metal and organic carbon
There is also a specialist histology laboratory.
Our Weymouth laboratory, purpose-built in 1995,
contains modern facilities for fish and shellfish disease diagnosis
and research, including scanning and transmission electron
microscopes with an X-ray micro-analysis suite for biological and
This laboratory has been designated as both the European Union Reference
Laboratory and the UK's National Reference Laboratory
for monitoring bacteriological and viral contamination of bivalve
molluscs. In addition, we are the designated the EU's Reference Laboratory for
crustacean diseases and the OIE Collaborating Centre for aquatic
animal diseases. You will find more about the specialist tools and
facilities to support that work by clicking on the links in this
The Weymouth laboratory is fully equipped to undertake automated
nucleic acid extraction, real-time and traditional PCR-based assays
and sequence analysis. This facility also has the capacity to
undertake pathogen detection, using micro-array technologies; and
pathogen labelling, using in situ hybridisation.
Small, port-based offices are located in:
- Whitehaven, Cumbria
- Scarborough, Yorkshire
- Exeter, Devon
- Newlyn, Cornwall.
These regional facilities provide a base for officers who either
work directly with fishermen (recording and measuring their catch
and discards) or are members of our radiological risk assessment
team. Inspectors from the Fish Health Inspectorate, based at
Cefas, routinely work at ports and airports around the UK and visit
commercial fish farms and other trade outlets in England and