Laboratory for Physiology and Genetics of Aquatic Organisms

University of Ottawa, Ottawa, Ontario
What the facility does

Physiological and genetic experimentation, breeding and maintenance of a variety of fish and amphibian species.  

Areas of expertise

The Laboratory for Physiology and Genetics of Aquatic Organisms is designed for in vivo experiments on a variety of fish and amphibian species, including zebrafish, brown ghost knifefish, goldfish, rainbow trout, polypterus and amphibian species, such as the western clawed frog. It comprises 15 rooms over an approximate area of 500 m². The objectives of the Laboratory are to provide state-of-the-art core facilities for the breeding and maintenance of healthy aquatic organisms and for in vivo physiological and genetic experimentation. The core facility provides a service, unique in Ottawa, for the generation of transgenic zebrafish and mutant zebrafish using the CRISPR/cas9 genome editing technology. A major role of the Laboratory is to provide training to all users of advanced equipment for research on aquatic organisms. It serves over 100 students, research trainees and scientists. Users of the Laboratory for Physiology and Genetics of Aquatic Organisms perform cutting edge experiments in the fields of cellular and molecular biology, comparative physiology, developmental biology, endocrinology, neurobiology and behaviour, and genetics.

Research services

Production and maintenance of transgenic zebrafish and of mutant lines of zebrafish (using the CRISPR/cas9 technology)
Phenotype and transgene expression analysis: facilities for microscopy (including fluorescence microscopy) and microinjection for the production and analysis of transgenic fish, and for morphological analyses. 
Areas for surgery (shared by all users) that include: a custom-built table for surgery; 6 wet tables, on which experimental chambers can be placed, supplied with water and with adjustable gas mixtures. 

Sectors of application
  • Agriculture, animal science and food
  • Environmental technologies and related services
  • Fisheries and aquaculture
  • Life sciences, pharmaceuticals and medical equipment
Specialized labEquipmentFunction
Zebrafish facilityEquipped with a total of 32 housing racksAllows the maintenance of multiple colonies of zebrafish
 miniMePS™ for Mass Embryo Production System (Aquatic Habitat)The system allows the housing of up to 660 adult zebrafish used for spawning in a 80 litre tank equipped with photoperiod control.
 Five microinjection stationsmicroinjection in embryos: each station is equipped with a stereomicroscope, a micromanipulator, and a microinjector (Narishige).
 Micropipette pullerTo make microinjection needles for microinjection in zebrafish embryos.
 Nikon SMZ 1500 microscope equipped for fluorescence and image analysis 
 ECM 830 square wave electroporation systemFor electro-transfert of genes, protein, drugs, etc… in fish tissue.
 Behavioural ZebraBox (ViewPoint)Allows high throughput automated observation and tracking movements of zebrafish embryos, larvae and adults.
Zebrafish toxicology and metabolic phenotyping facility2 zebrafish housing racks (Techniplast)Suitable for separate maintenance of zebrafish colonies for transgenerational studies.
 Toxicology unit (Techniplast)Allows controlled closed circuit and automated zebrafish exposures.
 Seahorse Metabolic flux analyzerUsed for metabolic phenotyping to probe mitochondria function and metabolic fuel utilization in zebrafish assays.
Trout, salmon and goldfish facilityEquipped with tanks of various volumes (70L, 115L, 230L, 1200L) 
Amphibious fish facilityTwo 9-tank housing units with specialized substrate design to house amphibious fish. (Aquaneering) 
Equipment that can be used for various fish species.16-channel aquatic respirometry systemFully computerized and automated respirometry system allowing high-throughput sampling of metabolic rate in a variety of different aquatic species.
 90 L swim tunnel

Allows measuring metabolic rate in swimming fish up to 1 kg body mass. Respirometry is monitored through a DAQ-PAC-G1 instrument controlled with AutoResp software (Loligo Systems).

Can also be used to record lateral and overhead high- speed videos for locomotion biomechanics. 

Amphibian facilityEquipped with two housing racks (Techniplast) 
Areas for surgeryIncluding a custom-built table for surgery; 6 wet tables, on which experimental chambers can be placed, supplied with water and with adjustable gas mixtures. 


  • Fisheries and Oceans Canada