British Antarctic Survey (NERC-BAS)

British Antarctic Survey (NERC-BAS)

Research Infrastructure affiliation: EMBRC

Location: Cambridge, UK

Website address:

Local Access Officer: Prof Melody Clark (



The primary mission of NERC-BAS is to conduct research in the polar regions, with an emphasis on the Antarctic. It also acts as the UK Antarctic logistics gateway. Research on the biology side comprises the ecophysiology of marine organisms, the study of their biodiversity, the analysis of the fundamental processes of biology using genomics approaches and the potential biotechnological applications. NERC-BAS has recently opened the Aurora Innovation Centre and is promoting novel research in the field of marine bioresources with particular reference to the biotechnologies addressed to the identification of novel molecules of marine origin.


Research and technological development at NERC-BAS comprises molecular and genomic approaches to assess cellular and whole animal responses to climate change, evolution and biodiversity analyses, adaptation to life in freezing waters and their applications in marine blue biotechnology.

Biological resources comprise access to the BAS aquarium and specimen store. Species in the aquarium are mainly limited to the common Antarctic species, in which the long-term husbandry is understood and are commonly held in our aquarium. These species mainly comprise echinoderms: the sea star Odontaster validus, and the brittle stars Ophiura crassa and Ophionotus victoriae, the sea urchin Sterechinus neumayeri, the sea cucumbers Heterocucumis steinini and Cucumaria geogiana, plus the bivalve molluscs Laternula elliptica and Aequiyoldia eightsii. Other species such as ascidians, anemones and copepods may be requested.  Specific requests can be made in January for the dive team to collect in the Antarctic with delivery to the UK in late spring of the same year (usually May) and may be covered by ASSEMBLE+. Although much of the specimen store is catalogued, the list is not available on-line and requests should be discussed with the local liaison officer.


The main facilities are the Antarctic aquarium and an extensive specimen store, containing preserved samples (in ethanol and formaldehyde) from our base at Rothera and numerous Antarctic cruises. There is associated access to laboratories and specialist equipment, comprising access to wet and dry labs, light microscopy facilities and molecular laboratories where standard DNA and RNA extraction and quantifications and PCR amplifications can be performed. There is also access to controlled environment facilities and aquarium tanks for experimental manipulations. The Library provide access to current polar literature and Antarctic archives.

Support offered

TA-users have access to desk space in the Aurora Innovation Centre, lab-space, to standard disposables and administrative and logistic support and to the services in the units listed above, including troubleshooting with, and basic training in, the use of platforms. Other amenities include an in-house cafeteria. NERC-BAS does not provide lodging, but restaurants, hotels and B&Bs are nearby. The centre of Cambridge is only 20 minutes walk away from the site and is served by local buses. The Local liaison officer can assist with lodging reservations.

Reimbursement procedures

Download here the guide for reimbursement procedures for travel and subsistence in place at NERC-BAS.
Reimbursement procedures will be specified in the User Access Contract. National and institutional rules apply. 
Please contact Prof Melody Clark ( for further info.