Facilities in the Department of Biosciences

The Department of Biosciences provides access to an extensive range of specialist facilities for both undergraduate and postgraduate students.  These include: Research and IT laboratories; Constant temperature rooms; Growth rooms; Aquaria; Greenhouses; Zoology Museum; A custom-designed 12.5m coastal research vessel, RV Noctiluca.

Specialist Research Training Facilities

Aquatic research projects can make use of a custom-designed £12.5 million coastal research vessel, the RV Noctiluca, and our RCUK recognised Major Research Facility, the Centre for Sustainable Aquatic Research (CSAR). This £2 million unique research facility includes a 750 m2 controlled environment building, plus separate primary quarantine facilities, ozone-sterilised water intake and discharge, centralised 12-27oC programmable air and water supply freshwater to full strength seawater, as well as programmable light intensity and photoperiod regimes. .

Research students with spatiotemporal data (of behaviour, movement, or population dynamics, for example) can make use of the newly built £1.35 million Swansea Lab for Animal Movement (SLAM) which incorporates an electronic wall (3x4 m) linked to a computer cluster for high speed processing and visualisation of movement data. SLAM also designs and produces state-of-the-art animal tags to study how organisms move and interact with their environment.

Research projects with a more theoretical/mathematical nature can make use of advanced university computing facilities that includes high-end graphics workstations, high-speed network links and the Blue Ice supercomputer located at the Mike Barnsley Centre for Climatic Change Research (Pembrokeshire). Extensive software packages include both in-house developed and 'off-the-shelf' commercial packages.

Lab-based projects can be undertaken in one of several dedicated Bioscience labs housed within our grade 2 listed Wallace Building which have been the subject a recent £4.2 million renovation programme and now provide world-class research facilities that includes specialist molecular ecology lab and a dedicated arthropod facility.

*Photography by James Kenning

Visualisation Suite

Visualisation Suite

The SLAM Visualisation Suite has an electronic wall (1.5 X 4 m) linked to a computer-tesla cluster for high speed processing and visualisation of complex accelerometry and magnetometry data derived from animals. The suite uses bespoke ‘smart-tags’ with bespoke software to understand the ‘rules’ behind animal movement and their consequences, dealing with issues ranging from the micro-movements of people belaying ‘state’ to trans-continental animal migrations.

The Arthropod Behavioural Laboratory

The Arthropod Behavioural Laboratory

The Arthropod Behavioural Lab is used to monitor the behaviour of insects using conventional video-cameras as well as animal-attached sensors such as accelerometers developed in the Tag Construction Laboratory and analysed in the visualisation suite. Projects include the reaction of insect pests to semio-chemicals and assessment of behavioural cues that relate to ‘state’.

State-of-the-art facilities

Facilities

The College of Science has also invested £4.2m on a suite of state-of-the-art Science laboratories and teaching rooms.  The facility, which includes Physics laboratories, Biological Sciences laboratories, Geology laboratories, a novel group teaching laboratory and an IT suite, have been refurbished as part of the University’s ongoing commitment to enhance the learning and teaching environment.  The laboratories comprise a full range of AV facilities able to transmit output from a variety of sources including microscopes, PCs, DVD players and visualise/camera units to several plasma screens.  The facilities comply with all DDA requirements and include Induction Loops for students with hearing difficulties and adjustable benches for disabled students. The refurbishment has resulted in significantly upgraded facilities to teach a higher level of transferable laboratory techniques and skills.

Tag Construction Laboratory

Tag Construction Laboratory

The Tag Construction Lab is set up for research, development and realisation of animal tags with new capacities to study the causes and consequences of animal movement by using animal-attached technology. Work involves sensors, energy-harvesting systems, and miniaturization of electronics as well as 3-D printing technology and testing of housings so that tags can be constructed to be robust whilst having minimal impact on their wearers.

Centre for Sustainable Aquatic Research

Centre for Sustainable Aquatic Research

The Centre for Sustainable Aquatic Research, CSAR, is a centre of excellence founded in 2003 with support from the European Union, Welsh Assembly Government and Swansea University. Equipped with modern, fully programmable recirculating aquaculture systems, CSAR is designed for applied research on a diverse range of aquatic organisms, from temperate to tropical and marine to freshwater environments.