National Marine Science Centre celebrates 10 years

Published 30 August 2012

Southern Cross University’s National Marine Science Centre will celebrate 10 years of operation as a teaching and research facility at a ceremony at the Centre today (August 30).

The Member for Coffs Harbour Mr Andrew Fraser is special guest, along with the University Chancellor The Hon John Dowd AO QC and Vice Chancellor Professor Peter Lee.

The National Marine Science Centre began operation in 2002 as a joint facility of Southern Cross University and the University of New England.

In 2010, Southern Cross University took full control of the Centre, placing renewed emphasis on research in key areas including biodiversity, ecological interactions, aquaculture and sustainable fisheries.

Professor Peter Lee said the Centre played a key role within the University and in the Coffs Harbour community.

“The National Marine Science Centre provides educational opportunities for the Coffs Harbour community and for visitors to this region,” Professor Peter Lee said.

“Through the Sea Education Activities schools’ outreach program, run by Stephan Soule, the unique marine environment of the Solitary Islands Marine Park is being brought to life.”

Professor Lee said researchers at the Centre, under the leadership of director Professor Les Christidis, were also making a significant contribution in marine conservation and aquaculture.

New facilities which opened at the Centre this year include an aquaculture farm, which houses a wide range of fish and invertebrate species in a variety of round tanks and raceways that range from 1,000 to 7,000 litres.

A new 30,000 broodstock facility includes hatchery and nursery tanks to grow fish to fingerling stages.

Professor Christidis said the hatchery enabled researchers to grow all stages of the food chain, from algal culture to live food.

“Our new climate-controlled laboratories allow breeding conditions to be simulated and studied to attain optimal reproduction of fish species,” he said.

“These facilities have further enhanced our capacity for research, and provide a valuable resource for students who are undertaking their final year of the Bachelor of Marine Science and for our postgraduate students, who come to us from all over the world.”

Photo opportunity: media are invited to attend the celebrations starting at 11am, Thursday, August 30, National Marine Science Centre.

Media contact: Brigid Veale head of Communications and Publications, 66593006 or 0439 680 748.