Ghent University (UGent)

Ghent University (UGent)

Research Infrastructure affiliation: EMBRC

Location: Gent, Belgium

Website address:

Local Access Officer: Dr. Thibaud Mascart (, Dr. Shanna Vanblaere (



The UGent facilities, partner of the European Marine Biological Resource Centre (EMBRC) infrastructures address a broad range of research questions, from understanding fundamental ecological processes to more applied questions on the effects of environmental stress on marine organisms and ecosystems to the management of large scale impacts, such as global change.


Our research has a marine biological focus, especially related to the benthic (bottom) compartment of the sea, while occasionally also water column processes are integrated in our research. The research groups part of EMBRC are comprehensively equipped with modern instrumentation and laboratory facilities allowing us to mimic the natural environment and offering us the possibility to investigate organisms in all their aspects (including taxonomy, ecology, biochemistry, functioning, and toxicology). We have access to state of the art experimental facilities, supported by high-tech molecular and chemical lab facilities to perform innovative marine research.


UGent manages services under 5 facilities: 1) Experimental ecology facilities encompass a wet and dry biological lab with climate control. In this lab, artificial seawater is used in aquaria, mesocosms and sediment incubation tanks. A variety of data loggers & sensors are available to monitor experiments. 2) Structural and chemical analysis facilities at UGent supports state-of-the-art fatty acid analyses (extraction protocols and injection on GC-FID/MS equipped with a PTV), pigment analyses, CN sediment analyses and nutrient analyses. This infrastructure allows a complete biochemical screening of marine organisms. Specialized staff supports development of customized protocols for analysis. 3) Molecular analysis facilities are optimised for high-throughput analysis including cutting edge automated robotic handling, for picking, plating and/ re-arraying microbial communities. Within these molecular analyses, we offer state of the art identification techniques, in casu MALDI-TOF. 4) Biological analysis facilities manage 16 fish challenge tanks allowing to perform pathological experiments and histological analyses. Aquatic veterinary expertise in terms of disease diagnostics and remediation is present, as well as proficiency in teleost necropsy, bacteriology and histology. The facilities include a patho-histological laboratory to make slides and study these slides under optical or fluorescence microscopy. 5) Imaging facilities include state of the art microscopes. One microscope is equipped with a digital imager and NIS Elements software for digital image analysis of the marine biota. Another microscope is equipped with a digital imager to capture movement of live samples and is equipped with animal behaviour analysis software (Zebralab).

Support offered

UGent provides TA to the five facilities listed above. Technical staff is available for assistance or hands-on analysis depending on the type of facilities and instrumentation. TA-users have access to lab-space, to standard disposables and administrative and logistic support and to the services in the units listed above. UGent does not provide lodging, but restaurants, hotels and B&Bs are nearby. The Local liaison officer assists with lodging reservations.