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Curtin University
Environment and Agriculture

Curtin Aquatic Research Laboratories (CARL)


The Curtin Aquatic Research Laboratories (CARL) comprises several facilities based at Technology Park in Bentley, Perth, that support the undergraduate, postgraduate and aquatic research programmes within the Department of Applied Biosciences. The backbone of the facility consists of three main re-circulation systems – seawater, freshwater and inland saline water.

A 70-tonne mesocosm tank with viewing windows will be monitored by underwater cameras linked to the world wide web for undergraduate training and research monitoring. Manipulation of specialised lighting will enable researchers to imitate the length of day and night to match any location in the world.

The various aquatic systems the Laboratories are controlled by a central computer system, specially designed for the facility. Staff and students 'log in' and report their activities such as what animals have been fed, which experiments have been monitored, etc. A special virtual controller is being developed to allow routine activities to be performed and monitored remotely. Students on a roster system perform weekly scuba cleaning of the mesocosm windows.

The facility also contains post-graduate research laboratories, ecotoxicology and teaching laboratories and a fully functional marine and freshwater fish hatchery. Quarantine, live feed and algae culture rooms are an important part of the centre. Aquatic science research conducted at the Centre includes: freshwater, marine and inland saline aquaculture; integrated aquaculture; aquatic ecology; aquatic resource management; ecotoxicology; and aquatic polyculture.

Aquatic animals that are planned for cultivation in the near future include: pink snapper, bream, lobster, marron, yabbies, leafy sea dragons, corals, aquarium fish, silver perch, Murray cod and marine prawns.