Launch of wet lab makes KAUST a leading marine research station on the shore of the Red Sea

  • ​The Coastal and Marine Resources Core Lab (CMOR) has opened its long-awaited wet lab facilities, named SeaLABS.

    SeaLABS enable researchers to experiment on marine and freshwater organisms in controlled or simulated environments. As such, SeaLABS offers a new dimension of marine research at KAUST by catering to specific research objectives that require direct control of species and their environments.

    This new facility means CMOR is now a fully functional marine research station at a strategic location along the Red Sea coast of Saudi Arabia. Prior to the opening of SeaLABS, CMOR has been supporting the educational and research programs in marine science at KAUST through its facilities and services on marine operations (research vessel, small boat fleet, and pier facility), marine electronics (sensor development and engineering solutions), as well as scientific diving and field support (research cruises, coastal and marine sampling, and instrument deployments). Compared to other marine research stations worldwide, CMOR boasts of a unique feature of having all its facilities closely clustered at a seaside location within the KAUST campus.

    What are SeaLABS?

    The title comes from the contraction of Seawater Laboratories for Aquatic Biosystem Simulations. They provide outdoor and indoor lab spaces for the culture experimentation of various organisms, including fish, shellfish, corals, and sponges. The functionality of SeaLABS are enabled by a fully automated Life Support System (LSS) - a plant of machineries that delivers different water types (raw seawater, sand-filtered and micro-filtered seawater, dechlorinated freshwater, reverse osmosis water, and chilled seawater), aeration, power supply, and internet connectivity to all wet lab facilities.

    Users can conduct their experiments in the SeaLABS using different sizes, shapes, and configuration of tanks and aquaria systems.

    SeaLABS Facilities

    In addition to outdoor and indoor wet labs, SeaLABS also houses a dark room that is intended for simulating deep-sea conditions and a quarantine facility for isolating and addressing diseased or stressed organisms which are under experimentation.

    The wet lab facilities are also supported by special-purpose indoor facility that includes:

    • Food preparation room - supports the feeding requirements of aquatic animals in aquarium setups

    • Two specimen labs - for sample preparations and specimen handling

    • Environmental room - for experiments under simulated atmospheric conditions

    • Multi-purpose room - for class instruction and bench top experimental works

    • Two walk-in chiller/freezer compartments for high-volume sample storage

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