Our Research Facilities

Our Research Facilities

ARIES PhD students will have access to a truly exceptional range of research facilities and experienced users across a diverse spectrum of the environmental sciences. Many of the ARIES Partners’ facilities provide important national or international capability, and many are formally UKAS ISO accredited, serving the complete range of academic, societal and business end-users.

For more information about the research facilities available to ARIES students please see the listings below.

British Antarctic Survey

BAS supports state-of-the-art laboratory capabilities for ice core analysis, genomics, and low temperature biology in Cambridge, as well as atmospheric, geophysics and life sciences in both Arctic (Svalbard) and Antarctic (RotheraHalley, South Orkney Islands, Bird Island and South Georgia) field stations.

A fleet of four Twin Otter aircraft based at Rothera support science at remote field sites and provide platforms for airborne atmospheric, geophysical and glaciological investigations.

Find out more about BAS

British Geological Survey

The BGS holds extensive global fossil collections, the national geological repository, and one of the world’s best earth science libraries.

Geoscience lab facilities at the BGS are among the best in the world, with capabilities in radiogenic and stable isotope analyses, X-ray diffraction, modern light, fluorescence, and electron microscopy and microanalysis facilities and advanced preparation and imaging capabilities.

Geophysical analyses are provided through comprehensive and integrated rock and soil testing facilities employing a range of modern technologies including gamma ray spectrometry and radiochemical assays. The BGS Fluid Processes Laboratory will allow ARIES students access to unique facilities and services for understanding complex fluid processes in biological, chemical and/or physical domains, such as the Geomicrobiology Laboratory to study microbe interactions with geochemical and hydrogeological processes. Lab-scale experiments are supported through extensive field-scale testing capabilities.

Find out more about BGS

British Trust for Ornithology

The BTO has world-leading capability in biodiversity monitoring, providing ARIES students to unique long-term databanks and cutting-edge modeling techniques, monitoring through programs such as the BTO Ringing SchemeEURINGBreeding Bird Survey and BirdTrack.

Although focused on bird study, the BTO has a widening remit and has recently launched a soil biodiversity initiative. The BTO will provide PhD student access to a range of established field methods, sites, 50,000 volunteer ‘citizen scientists’, and advanced monitoring technologies including remote data acquisition through Movetech Telemetry’s tracking devices and software developed with UEA.

Find out more about BTO

Centre for Ecology and Hydrology

CEH maintains a diverse range of capabilities for conducting world-class terrestrial and freshwater ecosystems science.

In addition to a wide range of field sites with ongoing monitoring technologies, CEH has contained systems for experimental testing in mescosms and controlled environment facilities such as the Grodomes and Solardomes. Outstanding capacity in the measurement of organic and inorganic analytical chemistry and radioecology is available across a number of sites employing the very latest technology.

Find out more about CEH

Earlham Institute

The Earlham Institute hosts the UK’s national capability in genomics and is dedicated to advanced scientific training, allowing ARIES students to access the very latest knowledge and technology for advanced genome sequencing, single cell analysis, and genomic engineering.

The genome biology is supported by a world-leading bioinformatics team working within one of the largest supercomputing facilities for life sciences research in Europe.

Find out more about Earlham Insitute

Institute of Zoology

The Institute Of Zoology (IOZ) is housed in the Nuffield and Wellcome buildings at ZSL’s Regent’s Park site.

As well as providing modern research facilities allied to a zoo in central London, the IOZ has extensive animal tissue storage and analysis facilities, making it one of the most comprehensive archives for wildlife disease studies in Europe. In addition to modern live animal maintenance facilities, ZSL houses one of the world’s most important zoological libraries, and it has active research and impact partnerships with more than 50 different countries.

Find out more about IOZ

John Innes Centre

The John Innes Centre supports a range of Technology Platforms delivering world-class scientific support and training, including a dedicated Conference Centre where we have hosted successful EnvEast meetings such as the acclaimed annual EnvExpo event.

ARIES students will have access to state-of-the-art bio-imaging capability using both optical and electron microscopy at our sites in the JIC and UEA. Controlled environment facilities and microbial fermentation suites comprising more than 100 separate rooms for plant, microbe, insect and fish research are available through the JIC and UEA, including DEFRA-approved containment rooms. Excellent biomolecular analysis abilities are available using X-ray and protein crystallography, NMR, SPR and ITC across the NRP, and the JIC proteomics facility runs four of the latest mass spectrometers for single amino acid and complex protein analysis.

Find out more about JIC

Marine Biological Association

At the Marine Biological Association (MBA), ARIES students will have access to an impressive array of marine biology research capability.

The MBA maintains some of the world’s longest and most spatially extensive marine biological datasets, including the Continuous Plankton Recorder (CPR). The MBA’s research vessel Sepia operates up to 60 miles offshore, and is equipped with dry and wet research space for 12 scientists. The MBA research aquarium offers unparalleled expertise for sourcing and holding temperate marine species, constant high-quality seawater access and experimental systems to study warming and ocean acidification impacts. The MBA culture collection holds over 400 strains from 80 genera of marine phytoplankton. Facilities also include modern molecular research capabilities and one of the best microscopy suites located within a European marine laboratory. The National Marine Biological Library (NMBL) is based at the MBA and is one of the largest marine reference libraries in the world, holding thousands of scientific journal titles and books, historical literature, expedition reports and a herbarium.

Find out more about MBA

Plymouth Marine Laboratory

Plymouth Marine Laboratory (PML) is currently undergoing a £5M+ refurbishment programme, primarily focussed on developing a suite of new laboratories that will allow world-class capabilities in the study of marine plastics, trace gases, the carbon cycle, noise pollution, and marine life science from viruses to macro-benthos.

ARIES students will have access to PML’s ‘Molecular Matrix’: a one-stop laboratory for the analysis of DNA and culture of marine life. PML’s Single Cell GenomicsFacility employs precision flow cytometry, microfluidics and molecular diagnostic machinery, in parallel with world-class expertise in the culture of marine microorganisms, to allow unprecedented genomic resolution to the study of marine microbial ecology. The SCG Facility uses the world’s fastest High-Speed Atomic Force Microscope, capable of recording at 24 million pixels per second to image microbes at nanometre-scale resolution, and able to complete a year’s worth of conventional AFM imaging in just a few hours. Complementary to dry lab space, ARIES students will have access to wet lab and field facilities, including the Western Channel Observatory biodiversity and oceanography reference site in the English Channel, additional data buoys, the Penlee Point Atmospheric Observatory established in 2014 for long-term observations of ocean-atmosphere interaction, and two research vessels enabling coastal and offshore marine science capabilities.

Find out more about PML

Royal Holloway University of London

RHUL Earth Sciences has a major capability in elemental and isotopic geochemical analysis.

Facilities include gas-source IRMS for the measurement of carbon, oxygen and nitrogen in waters, organic matter and carbonates; Multi-Collector ICP-MS and Thermal-Ionisation MS for the measurement of non-traditional stable and radiogenic isotope systems; ICP-OES, ICP-MS and X-Ray Fluorescence for the measurement of elemental concentrations; and X-Ray diffraction, electron and optical imaging facilities for mineralogy. The department also houses a world class atmospheric greenhouse gas laboratory, and sea ice chemistry laboratories, with established links to the Rutherford-Appleton and National Physical Laboratories. Solid Earth processes are studied using high-end structural modelling, seismic processing and digital analysis labs.

Find out more about RHUL

University of East Anglia

Extensive research facilities in five Schools at the University of East Anglia provide opportunities for cutting-edge research.

UEA’s School of Biological Sciences holds state of the art analytical research facilities. These specialist facilities, including extensive insect culture rooms, aquaria for frogs and fish, and molecular labs, are maintained by dedicated staff. Facilities are fully integrated into the Norwich Research Park virtual technology centre.

The School of Environmental Sciences is host to facilities of national and international importance, including the Roland von Glasow Air-Sea-Ice Chamber, Weybourne Atmospheric Observatory, Environmental Sedimentary Fluid Dynamics Laboratory, and a fleet of Seagliders. The School also benefits from close collaborations with other Schools and Institutes, through (among others) the Centre for Conservation and Ecology, the Earth and Life Systems Alliance, and the Agritech Water Cluster.

UEA’s School of Computing Sciences has state-of-the-art facilities for Computational Biology, graphics, vision and speech recognition (with applications in automating environmental monitoring), and data science.

Researchers at UEA also benefit from a high-performance computing cluster and other specialist research computing services.

Find out more about UEA

University of Essex

The University of Essex‘s School of Biological Sciences has field sampling and analysis capabilities across a range of established sites from local estuaries to tropical marine parks, coupled with major in-house development of facilities for environmental genomics and epigenetics.

Advanced growth chambers and experimental mesocosms exist for ARIES projects, and a major experimental aquarium with more than 60 large tanks for freshwater or marine research.

Find out more about University of Essex

University of Kent

The University of Kent‘s Durrell Institute of Conservation Ecology (DICE) and Research groups within Statistical Ecology in the School of Mathematics, Statistics and Actuarial Science pride themselves on the extent of their international reach, the quality and reputation of their research, and the outstanding facilities they offer.

Postgraduate researchers at Kent have access to state-of-the-art facilities including modern genetics labs, dedicated equipment for microscopic imaging, a video editing suite and high-performance computing facilities.

You can take a virtual tour of the School of Anthropology and Conservation facilities.

Find out more about University of Kent

University of Plymouth

The University of Plymouth’s Marine and Sustainable Earth Institutes support exceptional research facilities.

The £19M Marine Building opened in 2012, housing research, innovation and engagement capabilities, including the unique offshore and coastal Wave Basin tank facilities for energy device testing, a state-of-the-art palaeomagnetic research lab, and ISO 9001-accredited analytical and instrument labs for marine biogeochemistry and radiometric analyses for both land- and sea-based environmental research. Plymouth has the ocean-going research vessel RV Falcon Spirit, complete with on-board analytical and sampling capabilities, and the deployment of remotely-operated vehicles for deep-water analyses.

Plymouth has close links with the National Marine Aquarium, providing direct opportunities for public engagement and citizen science.

Find out more about University of Plymouth