Marine research station


The NRC has been growing phytoplankton, zooplankton, seaweeds, finfish and shellfish in Ketch Harbour, Nova Scotia for nearly 50 years. In recent years, our comprehensive marine cultivation facility has been outfitted with additional equipment for the production of substantial quantities of microalgae.

Our capabilities

These unique facilities, coupled with our experts in algal biology, marine biology, aquaculture, analytical chemistry and applied nutrition, enable us to deliver specialized research solutions for collaborators and clients. Through the Algal Carbon Conversion Program, we are developing strategies to divert industrial CO2 emissions into algal biomass and to convert that biomass into high-value products.

Why work with us

Scientists at the algal research facility can provide resources and expertise for the intensive cultivation of seaweeds and microalgae to produce bioactives and biofuels. Harvesting and biochemical analysis of the algal biomass is carried out on site. Advanced tools for more detailed analyses of algal biomass and the extraction of specific bioactives are available and can be tailored to our partners' research interests and needs.

Research facility highlights

  • Intensive microalgae batch cultivation capacity (multiple Brite-Box photobioreactors with a total volume of approximately 10,000L)
  • Continuous photobioreactor capacity for intensive continuous cultivation of microalgae (Biofence photobioreactor (2,400L))
  • Seven Conviron environmental growth chambers for controlled cultivation of algae
  • Extensive marine organism (e.g., seaweed, finfish, shellfish) cultivation and holding capacity
  • Advanced chemostat laboratory for continuous cultivation and monitoring of microalgae
  • Gas mixing and containment system for delivering specific gas mixtures to algal cultures
  • High capacity sea water pumping station (up to 9000L/min), servicing multiple buildings on site; seawater chilling and heating capacity
  • Wet labs for algal growth media preparation and cell counting
  • Advanced biomass processing equipment (two high-speed centrifuges (2L and 10L bowl capacity) and an industrial freeze-dryer)
  • Dynasep supercritical CO2 bioactive extraction system
  • Laboratory-scale feed production facility for post-harvest processing of aquatic and crop-based resources and for on-site formulation and production of test diets and research feeds for animal and/or aquaculture nutrition studies
  • Advanced instrumentation for biomass and lipid analysis including bomb calorimeter, elemental analyzer, automated Soxhlet lipid extractor, gas chromatograph, membrane inlet mass spectrometer, fluorometer, nitrogen analyzer, micro-osmometer, bench top lyophilizer

Image gallery

Contact us

Business inquiries

Laurel O'Connor
Telephone: 306-975-4573

Technical inquiries

Pat McGinn
Telephone: 902-346-3006


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