Cold-ocean Deep-sea Research Facility (CDRF)

Memorial University of Newfoundland, St. John's, Newfoundland and Labrador
What the facility does

Life science research with a focus on cold-ocean biology

Areas of expertise

The Cold-ocean Deep-sea Research Facility (CDRF) is a collaborative facility which provides resources to researchers working in a variety of fields. We conduct disease challenge studies into aquatic species, especially those used in cold ocean aquaculture. This includes vaccine and nutraceutical testing, cleaner fish studies and quarantine capacity. Deep-sea facilities allow for testing of small deep-sea equipment (housing, cameras, etc.), oil and gas contaminants at depth (e.g. surfactants, degradation) and deep-sea physiology and environmental impacts. We can prepare and analyze tissues for histopathology including environmental effects monitoring samples for offshore oil and gas work. Advanced imaging is available for a variety of samples from larval animals on our scanning electron microscope to fluorescent imagining in bacterial / cell interactions to microplastic ingestion. We are part of the Ocean Sciences Centre which includes access to diverse and accomplished faculty, dive teams and research support technicians.

Research services
  • Aquatic disease challenge studies
  • Deep-sea testing of equipment
  • Histology services
  • Environmental effects monitoring (EEM) – health effects: gill, liver, blood, enzymatic
  • In vitro (cell culture) fish immunological health assays
  • Scanning electron microscopy
  • Digital slide scanning
  • Confocal and digital microscopy
  • Aquatic recirculation systems
  • Experimental design and management
Sectors of application
  • Agriculture, animal science and food
  • Energy
  • Environmental technologies and related services
  • Fisheries and aquaculture
  • Life sciences, pharmaceuticals and medical equipment
  • Ocean industries

Specialized lab



Aquatic containment zone

Aquatic containment zone

CFIA certified (currently aquatic containment level 2 (ACQ2), level 3 possible). Wet and dry labs for aquatic disease research.

Deep-sea labs

IPOCAMP (Incubateur Pressurisé pour l'Observation en Culture d'Animaux Marins Profonds)

19 L chambers, 300 Bar (3000m) pressure. Water may be flow-through with altered header conditions. Viewports and lights.

Deep-sea labs

PICCEL (Pressurized Incubators for the Culture of Cells, Embryos and Larvae)

Observation of small volumes under up to 300 Bar of pressure. May be supplied to a microscope chamber. Water volume may be passed through chambers.

Histology lab

Tissue processor, embedding station, microtome, cryostat and automated stainer

Full suite for the preparation of tissue sections for microscopy.

Analysis lab

Nikon A1R confocal microscope

4 laser system with galvanic and resonance scanning. High resolution and 3D fluorescent imaging.

Analysis lab

BD Fluorescence activated cell-sorter (FACS)

8 colour, temperature control, 4-way sorting

Analysis lab

Phenom Pro SEM (Scanning Electron Microscope)

12 nm resolution, Energy Dispersive X-Ray Spectroscopy (EDS), automated image mapping, temperature and motorized tilt control sample holders

Analysis lab

Zeiss AxioScan.Z1 digital slide scanner

Digital scanning of up to 100 slides at a time. Bright field and fluorescent. Up to 40X objective. Online storage and remote access to images.

Recirculation systems


Environmentally controlled recirculation tanks. Heating, chilling and filtration. Adaptable to pH or other chemical alterations of water.

  • Cargill
  • Department of Fisheries and Oceans
  • Exxon Biomedical
  • SubC Imaging
  • University of Prince Edward Island
  • Wood Group



Exploring the chilly ocean depths

Member Profile: The Cold-Ocean Deep-sea Research Facility