AQUAEXCEL3.0 is a research infrastructure project to support the sustainable growth of the aquaculture sector in Europe. It includes leading European aquaculture research facilities that work towards advanced integration and standardization of tools for aquaculture research.
AQUAEXCEL3.0 offers services tailored to the needs of the European aquaculture community and supports world-class aquaculture research. At CCMAR, through AQUAEXCEL3.0, researchers may access our Ramalhete Marine Station.



CCMAR Ramalhete Marine station is located inside the Ria Formosa lagoon National Park, a unique coastal mesotidal lagoon, separated from the ocean by a system of barrier islands and inlets, with very high biodiversity and an ideal natural laboratory protected by national and international legislation. The station is a versatile infrastructure with tanks to keep live organisms and large outdoor mesocosms, wet laboratory are available with tanks of various sizes and controlled environment enabling the carrying out of a variety of experiments with larvae and juveniles of several fish species such as nutrition, behavior, general and specific physiology including acidification.

In addition, CCMAR laboratories are well equipped for biological research at various levels, from biochemistry and molecular biology through genetics, physiology, behaviour and ecology. A computational Cluster dedicated to bioinformatics tasks contains software for genome assembly including NGS, transcriptomics, annotation, visualization, sequence alignment, population genetics, phylogenetics. Complementary services include Molecular Biology (sequencing and proteomics) and analytical Chemistry platforms.

The infrastructure receives approximately 20 international users per year. Approximately 15 projects are run on the station annually and more than 50 projects use the laboratories and platforms. Recent achievements include the identification of a tilapia reproductive pheromone, improved diets for octopus and fish larvae, defining a fish model associated mental retardation in humans caused by thyroid hormone deficiency and Dicentrarchus labrax genome sequence.


Name of the infrastructure: Ramalhete Marine Station
Location: Ria Formosa lagoon Natural Park, Faro, Portugal
Website address:
Contact: Liaison officer - Ana AmaralStation Manager - João Reis



The Ramalhete Marine Station is a versatile infrastructure adjacent to one of the main channels of Ria Formosa lagoon, close to Faro international airport, 12km from the city and 9 km from the Gambelas Campus of the University of Algarve. It consists of 4 hectares of a salt pan and marsh system, 300 m2 of indoor tank facilities with installations for phyto- and zooplankton culture, isolated rooms for studies that require environmental control or behaviour, wet and dry laboratories. The 900 m2 outdoor area is used for larger volume tanks. The indoor and outdoor tank facilities at Ramalhete Marine Station allow for the provision of tailored experimental setups in a wide range of conditions. It receives water directly from the Ria Formosa and well-water is used to regulate salinity. Services currently offered by the infrastructure.


Services currently offered by the infrastructure

CCMAR offers at the Ramalhete marine station, wet lab facilities with tanks of various sizes and controlled environment enabling the carrying out of a variety of experiments with larvae and juveniles of several fish species such as nutrition, behavior, general and specific physiology including acidification. Access is provided basic-routine equipment and consumables, and access to an open office. Costs for non-basic/non-routine chemicals/consumables are not included on the access. Complementary services include Molecular Biology (incl. sequencing and proteomics), Analytical Chemistry platforms and NGS data analysis pipeline but the costs will have to be covered by the user.

Ramalhete Marine Station can provide access to projects requiring tanks of different capacities: 100L (n=24); 500L (n=20); 1000L (n=22); 3000L(3); 9000L(5). All tanks are set in flow-through systems supplied with filtered natural sea water collected in the nearby lagoon channel. A battery of 24 of 100L tanks in a flow-through with three (3) levels of CO2 for simulating oceanic acidification scenarios can be provided. Tanks and space can be adapted to fulfill specific experimental needs as temperature control, photoperiod, light intensity or salinity.

Access to some fish species can be provided under request, such as sole (Sole senegalensis), seabream (Sparus aurata) and seabass (Dicentrachus labrax). The available sizes are dependent on time of the year.
Transport from CCMAR (Gambelas Campus of the University of Algarve) to Ramalhete Marine Station and return CCMAR is available during working days at 9a.m. and 17p.m.
Scientists or technicians directly involved in animal experimentation are required to have recognized personal licenses.


Modality of access

Support will be provided in the first instance through the Liaison Officer who will take care of introduction to local rules and permits needed, ensure integration of visitors and projects into the scheduling of the infrastructure, and will help with access to facilities.
Users will be able to carry out their projects according to pre-arranged planning and they can do at least some of the analysis in situ. As a rule, user access the facilities with complete independence from local research groups. Only if requested, users can benefit from interaction with a local group to benefit from their expertise. Users are expected to test new methodologies and obtain samples and data from different kinds of experiments, e.g. nutrition, growth and physiology, behaviour. Users are expected to provide a seminar and a report of the visit.
Paperwork and shipment costs of special materials, reagents or equipment will be responsibility of the users. Costs related to shipment of samples may be covered to some extent and will be evaluated on a one by one basis.
Pre-flight cancellation insurance and full health/work/travel insurance covering pre-existing medical conditions, and including world-wide travel assistance and emergency air transportation services, are required covering the full period of access from departure to return. This is a private cost not covered by CCMAR.


Unit of Access

Access typical consists in finalizing the planning (generally initiated remotely), the setting up and the monitoring of experiments. Longer experiments may be setup by service provider and the visit will be for monitoring and finalizing experiments, preparation of storage or other materials, collection of samples for various purposes, storage in appropriate media. Some samples may need to be initially locally analyzed in laboratories and platforms. Technical and scientific support will be assigned to the visitors according to the specific objectives of the TA.
The unit of access at Ramalhete Marine Station, is defined as tank.week. As an example, 20 units of access are 20 tanks during one week or 10 tanks during two weeks.


CCMAR Access Guide