Carna Research Station is a pump-ashore marine research facility on the west coast of Ireland with a large land bank (c.7 hectares), sea access and local pier.

  • 20L sec-1 seawater supply with water intake and effluent treatment units (filtration and UV)
  • Academic building (for teaching and workshops)
  • Aeration and oxygenation networks
  • Air compressor
  • Automated back-up electrical generator
  • Broodstock holding tanks (2.5 m3)
  • Compound and dissecting microscopes
  • DSC_0005
  • Fish feed formulation/production unit
  • Furnished offices with IT equipment
  • LAN network with wired and wireless broadband
  • Live food culture systems – microalgae, rotifers and Artemia
  • Marine hatchery and nursery units with 24 tanks of varying sizes from 800L to 2000L
  • Molecular Laboratory – genetics and immunology
  • Seaweed Hatchery
  • Temperature and photoperiod controlled rooms
  • Two dedicated experimental areas with multi-replicated tanks from 440L to 1200L with temperature control
  • Water flow failure automated alarm system
  • Wet laboratories for sampling and sample processing
  • Workshop


CRS is capable of providing a range of services for industry, government and academia and is particularly eager to promote industrial collaborations where possible. The research group are highly qualified in conducting aquaculture research and in production of a range of species prioritised to meet industry needs including finfish (e.g. lumpsucker, wrasse, cod) and seaweeds (Alaria esculenta, Saccharina latissima, Laminaria digitata, Palmaria palmata, Porphyra spp. etc). In addition, researchers working in the area of finfish aquaculture are fully trained in a variety of standard procedures (e.g. sampling, tagging, and taking blood) and individually registered with HPRA. We host undergraduate and postgraduate students from academic institutions whose research may require our holding systems. We can also provide facilities for hosting workshops and academic field courses. With both small and large-scale marine holding systems we have the capacity for both research and pilot commercial scale experimentation.

Over the next three decades, under the direction of Prof Padraic O’Ceidigh and Dr John Mercer, the ‘Shellfish Research Lab’, with its pioneering staff, undertook basic and applied research on an extensive, almost exhaustive, list of shellfish, finfish, crustacean, echinoderm and micro-/macro-algal species, including inter alia the Pacific Oyster (Crassostrea gigas), the Manila clam (Tapes semi-decussata), the purple sea-urchin (Paracentrotus lividus) and the Japanese abalone (Haliotis discus-hannoi). The research teams at Carna contributed to a greater understanding of the basic biology and requisite rearing protocols for these native and novel species. As testament to their efforts, many of these species are still being actively grown commercially in Ireland.

Over these years, the rearing and experimental facilities and supporting infrastructures have been added to, modified, improved and, often, replaced by newer facilities around the ‘core block’ which now largely houses offices and an administrative centre.