Laboratory Facilities

The Mauritius Oceanography Institute (MOI) new office and laboratory facilities in Albion comprises five blocks.

The Physical Oceanography unit in Block A has been assigned a GIS room with the aim to facilitate activities relating to the measurement of physical parameters, their analysis and the setting up of appropriate charts.

Block B includes the Chemical Oceanography as well as the Marine Geology and Geophysics units.  The Chemical Oceanography unit is divided into the natural product- and the analytical chemistry labs.  The natural product chemistry lab undertakes screening of marine sponge extracts for their biological activities (e.g. anti-cancer and anti-Alzheimer) and subsequent isolation and characterization of bioactive compounds. Besides seawater analyses for nutrients and pollutants, the analytical chemistry lab also undertakes analyses with regards to the identification of submarine groundwater discharge for the determination of the flux of freshwater released in the lagoon.

The Marine Geology and Geophysics unit conducts research on the structure and tectonics of the ocean basins and the mid-ocean ridge processes.  Its main areas of interests include the structure and evolution of the Western Indian Ocean, the structure of the oceanic crust and upper mantle beneath the volcanic islands of Mauritius and Rodrigues, and the Mascarene Plateau, the Central Indian Ridge and its associated hydrothermal sites, as well as associated seismic activities.

The Biological Oceanography unit, housed in Block C, comprises three laboratories: (i) Molecular Biology, (ii) Marine Biotechnology (iii) Aquaculture (including a coral facility).

The Molecular Biology lab comprises facilities for specimen preparation, DNA extraction and amplification, and photomicrography. The lab is currently involved in the assessment of marine living resources in Mauritius waters using DNA-based techniques and it also provides services to the Seafood industry.  It can also undertake research on genetic connectivity and diversity of marine populations, including aquacultured species.  When fully equipped, research will use advanced molecular techniques to study population genetics, coral/zooxanthellae genetics and microbial ecology.

The Marine Biotechnology unit conducts research on marine organisms of economic importance. The basic laboratory facility has been set up to undertake research related to Aquaculture, Food and Feed, Pharmaceutical and Environment sectors.  Further, it is providing its technical support on biosecurityaspect with respect to marine invasive species.  The Aquaculture unit comprises an aquaculture lab and a coral facility. The aquaculture lab is being set up to conduct research on the early life stages of marine organisms, covering areas such as feed, water quality, genetics, health and production records. The coral facility is being equipped with indoor aquaria for conducting various experiments on corals, including the use of sexually propagated corals for transplantation.