Biology facilities and laboratories | Mount Allison

Biology students have access to the following facilities, laboratories, and equipment.


Harold Crabtree Aqualab: Centre for Aquatic Sciences

The Aqualab is a state-of-the-art aquatic facility marrying field-based aquatic research with lab-based studies reflecting real-world environmental conditions. The Aqualab gives us a unique opportunity to understand how aquatic animals cope with ecologically relevant changes in temperature, salinity, oxygen, and exposure to contaminants. Moreover, it provides a fertile training facility for students, faculty, and visiting scientists.

The $1.2-million lab opened in June 2012 and was funded through generous donations from the Harold Crabtree Foundation — a long-time benefactor of Mount Allison — as well as the Canada Foundation for Innovation (CFI), the Province of New Brunswick, and the New Brunswick Innovation Foundation (NBIF).

Research in the Aqualab is of both regional and national significance as scientists study the impacts of climate change and pollution on local species, including both fresh and saltwater fish and invertebrates. Ongoing experiments include measuring the effects of warming on Atlantic salmon and the impacts of toxins such as nanoparticles on white sucker fish — a common river species.

The Aqualab allows researchers to carefully manipulate water temperatures, salinity, and tidal cycles to essentially bring the field into the lab.

The facility is operated by our capable and dedicated Aqualab technician, Shelley LeBlanc. The Aqualab has a series of recirculating tank banks, equipped with biofilters, charcoal filtration, and UV light suitable for fresh and saltwater fishes as well as invertebrates. The lab is equipped with wet tables, tide chambers, and several environmental rooms.

For more information or for booking (both internal and external users), please contact Shelley LeBlanc (shleblanc@mta.ca).  


Digital Microscopy Facility

The Digital Microscopy Facility (DMF) houses microscopy and microanalysis instrumentation which is available for use by Mount Allison faculty and students as well as researchers outside the University on a cost recovery basis.

Equipment includes a newly installed Hitachi SU3500 variable pressure SEM with an Oxford Aztec x-ray microanalysis system and Zeiss AxioImager.Z2 structured illumination eipflourescence light microscope, in addition to a full range of support equipment and image processing software. For more information see http://www.mta.ca/dmf 


Molecular biology labs

One cellular and molecular suite provides:

  • communal facilities for vertebrate and invertebrate cell culturing (in biological safety cabinets and incubators)
  • thermocyclers
  • PCR hoods
  • imaging equipment for DNA analysis

A second molecular suite houses:

  • Biorad VersaDoc CCD imaging system
  • Biorad CFX96 RT-PCR machine
  • dedicated E.coli cloning hood
  • large laminar flow hood
  • small shaking growth chamber
  • several sonicators
  • MP Biomedicals FastPrep bead beater machine
  • -80C cryo freezer
  • two Avanti floor model centrifuges with several types of rotors

Users are trained on all equipment before use and carry out activities such as:

  • large scale liquid culturing (and concentrating) of either bacteria or algae
  • imaging of agarose gels, polyacrylamide gels, and western blots
  • quantitative PCR and protein, DNA and RNA extractions