Facilities and Capabilities

CSIRO Aquaculture offers clients the ability to scale research to suit their budget and research priorities. We maintain research animals in both tropical and temperate facilities, with biosecure flow-through and re-circulation configurations, allowing controlled, cost-effective in vivo studies all year round.


Situated on the Hobart waterfront, our Tasmanian facilities position us at the doorstep of the southern ocean, within minutes or hours of Australia’s largest seafood companies. Approximately 10 members of our 40-strong team are based here.

In vivo

The facilities at our Hobart site contain small to medium aquarium systems for housing salmonids, oysters, abalone and other aquatic animals. We can use these facilities to investigate the performance of animals over a wide range of environmental conditions. We can precisely control water temperature and oxygenation to replicate culture conditions. Four independently controlled recirculating aquaculture systems allow simultaneous experimentation across a variety of species or environmental conditions. Atmospheric temperature in two aquarium rooms can be independently controlled, allowing measurement of physiological response during air exposure (e.g. oysters).

Some experiments conducted in these facilities include:

  • The physiology of Atlantic salmon incubated in hypoxia
  • Oyster bio-logger development
  • The impact of hypoxia on hybrid abalone
  • Maintenance and manipulation of net fouling and hydroid organisms

In vitro

The Hobart aquarium facilities are situated within a dedicated laboratory for preparing and analysing samples. We maintain Neoparamoeba perurans cultures in a biosecure area of this laboratory, and perform diagnostic (host & environment, DNA & RNA) N. perurans assays, preparation of templates for genomic and proteomic analysis, and enzyme activity assays through shared access to additional laboratories with modern molecular capacity. We also have a wet-lab and field store room at our disposal, enabling larger scale dissections or measurements of animals, and rapid mobilisation and de-contamination of fieldwork equipment.


In vivo

The facilities at our Bribie Island site are state-of-the-art and can house a range of species, including tiger prawns, whiteleg shrimp, abalone, spiny lobsters, barramundi, Atlantic salmon, tilapia and kingfish. These include a feed extrusion laboratory with experimental twin-screw extruder, steamer and pelletiser, 5 dedicated experimental rooms for nutrition research consisting of 120 communal and 120 individual tanks for prawn, as well as 48 conical tanks for fish.

Some experiments conducted in these facilities include:

  • The assessment of novel omega 3 oils produced from GMO canola and single-cell algae in Atlantic salmon
  • Replacement of fishmeal in aquafeeds using novel rendered poultry meals
  • The use of Novacq and other bioactive ingredients to enhance productivity and feed sustainability in prawns
  • Novacq for new species
  • Reducing nutrient losses by designing floating barramundi feeds
  • The assessment of essential nutrient supplementation of third-world artisanal feeds
  • The requirement for essential inorganic minerals in prawns
  • Understanding and reducing feed leaching losses
  • The application of NIR technology to predict ingredient and feed nutritional value

In vitro

The Bribie Island aquarium facilities are supported by a chemical laboratory at the Queensland Bioscience Precinct (QBP) with equipment such as freeze-driers, elemental analysers, bomb calorimeters, LC-MS/MS, ICP-MS, and GC suitable to routinely measure nutrients in biological samples. We also perform histology and other types of sample processing at QBP.


BIRc infrastructure upgradeInfrastructure at Bribie Island site has recently been enhanced in the face of threats posed by the prawn white spot disease. A new five stage process filters seawater down to 5 microns, and applies treatments that neutralise any pathogens or invasive organic compounds that might enter the facility through the seawater that is pumped from 200 metres offshore. Installation of the infrastructure has been complemented by improvements in staff and visitor procedures. These Australian-first biosecurity improvements secure the station’s research capabilities and confidence in developing prawn-breeding capacity.


We partner with scientists at DPIPWE (Launceston TAS), IMAS (Hobart TAS) and the Queensland Bioscience Precinct (Brisbane QLD) to access additional facilities for collaborative research. We also partner with scientific service providers such as Marine Solutions (Hobart TAS) to perform environmental sampling far and wide. Our rapid response teams in TAS and QLD are able to visit industry clients’ facilities or farm sites to scope, design, implement, guide, monitor, undertake sampling, report and provide staff training across any number of R&D trials. You’ll find our researchers anywhere from southern Tasmania…to northern Queensland, Scotland, Norway, Africa, Bangladesh, New Zealand, south America, USA and all across south-east Asia.