School of Biological Sciences

Institute of Marine Sciences

Institute of Marine Sciences
Institute of Marine Sciences

The Institute of Marine Sciences (IMS) is an internationally known marine station providing high quality marine research and teaching, and has remained at the forefront of marine biology for over 70 years. The research conducted at IMS is by nature multidisciplinary, reflected by strong links between the School of Biological Sciences and the University of Portsmouth Environmental Network (UPEN), the Department of Geography, the School of Earth and Environmental Sciences and the wider research community. IMS is located within metres of the sea providing access to the varied marine ecosystems of the Solent European Marine Site. The new £2 million aquarium and laboratory suite adds to the extensive facilities available to marine biology researchers and our postgraduate and undergraduate students. The IMS owns a fully marine, floating research platform permanently moored in Langstone Harbour, which is used for exposure trials and a range of in situ research and monitoring. The RV Calypso, our 5.4m research vessel, is available for inshore surveying and sampling. Our exceptional marine facilities are available for visiting researchers and commercial use.  

Research & Commercial services

Aquatic Centre

Aquatic centre
Aquatic Centre

Our purpose-built 318m2 aquatic centre houses a state-of-the-art aquarium and sea-water system. The seawater is sourced directly from Langstone Harbour; twin switching pumps on a pontoon supply seawater to our compound at a rate of 10 L/s. The seawater is processed via a settlement system with glass media filtration, and serves two independent lines delivered to the aquatic centre. Our processed seawater includes an integrated heater/chiller system with a range of 10°C - 25°C enabling temperature controlled experiments and ambient seawater experiments to concur. Both flow through and re-circulating seawater systems are also available. Our large wet lab is fitted with a flexible plumbing system and a large range of different volume tanks, in addition to our outdoor aquarium tanks (30 -5000L). This facility allows several hundred tanks to be run with either ambient or temperature-controlled sea-water for experimental research or holding tanks.

The aquarium is supported by:

  • Quarantine rooms for non-native species,
  • Living specimen preparation rooms, 
  • Five experimental aquarium rooms with independent temperature and light control,
  • Staff changing room, 
  • Molecular and general laboratories,
  • A flat roof with access for exposure, observation and monitoring trials.

Shallow water research and testing platform

A large research platform is permanently moored in the centre of Langstone harbour. This is a unique facility available for short and long-term marine monitoring and submersion trials.  Regular samples can be collected from panels and other structures deployed on the raft.  Instruments or panels may be immersed at any level from the surface to the sea bed, additionally equipment may be attached to the raft above the water. The raft can also provide a platform for marine remote sensing equipment and tidal turbine trials. There is a secured area with an access hatch down into the harbour water column. We can offer a range of services, from hiring of facilities to complete management of immersion/exposure trials including sample analyses and report writing. 

Research Platform

RV Calypso

We own a 5.4m high speed shallow draft dory available for inshore and intertidal work within The Solent European Marine Site (SEMS) and surrounding area. 

RV Calypsol

RV Chinook II

The RV Chinook II has the capability to sample offshore within the Solent and beyond and complements the current inshore RV Calypso.  At over 10 metres long Chinook II can carry up to ten students plus two crew, and is an integral part of the teaching across all years for BSc Marine Biology and MSc in Applied Aquatic Biology. The vessel is also available for commercial activity, postgraduates and researchers. 

RV Chinook II

Lecture theatre and teaching laboratory

The teaching building at IMS offer students and delegates a well equipped learning centre in a fantastic location with surrounding sea views. IMS is served by a dedicated university bus route from the city centre via the Langstone Campus.

Our teaching facilities include:

  • 150 m2 Lecture theatre/meeting room with 120 delegate capacity
  • Full range of AV capacity
  • Generous reception area to welcome and register conference guests
  • 140 m2 teaching laboratory with 72 work stations each equipped with compound and dissection microscopes
  • Supporting preparation room for technical staff
  • Seawater on tap
Lecture theatre

Principal Investigators

  • Simon Cragg (biofuels, mangrove and coral reef ecology, biodeterioration, molluscs)
  • Paul Farrell (microplastics, algal biology, invasive species)
  • Alex Ford (pharmaceuticals, parasites, crustaceans)
  • Gordon Watson (lead) (the aquarium trade, benthic ecology, bait collection, heavy metals, polychaetes)
  • Trevor Willis (marine protected areas, marine biodiversity, trophic interactions, fish ecology)
  • Joanne Preston (sponge - microbe interactions, molecular ecology and evolution, invasive species, restoration and management of the native oyster Ostrea edulis)
  • Federica Ragazzola (climate change, marginal populations, ecology and physiology of coralline algae)

A number of our facilities are also available for use in commercial testing and consultancy.