School of Natural and Environmental Sciences

Dove Marine Laboratory

Dove Marine Laboratory


Our laboratory at Cullercoats is an important facility for the School of Natural and Environmental Sciences.

The laboratory has a proud history of supporting excellence in Marine Science research, education and outreach for more than a century.

We have recently invested in and upgraded our facilities, so this tradition will continue for many decades to come.

The Dove Marine Laboratory at Cullercoats
The Dove Marine Laboratory at Cullercoats.


Dove Marine Laboratory has a wide range of equipment including:

  • standard field equipment for use on the shore, available for class sizes up to 50 students
  • deep water tanks, with a water depth of 3m with continuous water circulation
  • mesocosm measuring 2m in diameter and 1m high for large scale experiments in the main aquarium
  • 5 experimental cabinets measuring 1m x 1m x 2.5m designed for smaller tank experiments which require the control of temperature (3-20°) and photoperiod

Open Days and School Programme

Find out about when we are open to the public, and our other Outreach activities.

We offer an exciting programme of activities for school pupils of all ages. Why not see what is on offer on our Activities for Schools page and contact our Education Officer to discuss your booking.


The Dove Marine Laboratory is located only 9 miles from Newcastle City Centre. It has excellent local public transport links. It's a two-minute walk from Cullercoats metro station and is serviced by Newcastle International airport and national rail links.

Enter your postcode or address to find directions


Disabled access

Please contact us to discuss your needs.

Contact us

For further information on the Dove Marine Laboratories or to hire the conference facilities:

Contact Mrs Jill Cowans:

Dove Marine Laboratory
School of Natural and Environmental Sciences
Newcastle University
Cullercoats, North Shields
NE30 4PZ
Telephone: +44 (0)191 208 3051
Fax: +44 (0)191 252 1054


Virtual tour

Take a virtual tour of our facilities.

Teaching & Research

The Dove Marine Laboratory supports both teaching and research activities within the School of Marine Science and Technology.


Our students use the Lab as a base to explore local field sites and attend taught sessions within our teaching suite.

Teaching in the Evans Room at the Dove Marine Laboratory

Research and Networks

There's a strong research community at the Dove Marine Laboratory that encourages interaction between students and staff.

This allows us to develop and promote research-led teaching activities within our degrees. The Lab is home to research-active academics, MSc students from both within the School and other Schools within the University, PhD students and post-doctoral researchers, as well as visiting researchers.

Research interests of staff based at the Dove range from deep-sea food webs and marine mammal biology, to ballast water treatments and marine biotechnology.

The Dove Time Series is housed at The Lab, which is an important resource for monitoring changes in diversity of North Sea plankton and benthic animals.

The Lab is also a member of MARS The European Network of Marine Research Institutes and Stations. We offer a Travel Award of up to €2000 to support PhD students and early stage career researchers, whose institutes are members of this network, to undertake research at the Lab. There is a total of two awards offered in a year. Download the MARS Network Researcher Travel Application.

The Dove Marine Laboratory has a host of available facilities and we welcome opportunities for collaboration with both internal and external researchers interested in furthering their research and links with the School.

Conferences & Meetings

The coastal location of the Dove Marine Laboratory offers a novel and picturesque setting for your Staff Away Day, workshop or small conference. We have two rooms available for hire.

Buchanan Room

The Buchanan Room is set up cabaret style with five large round tables, each seating six people.

It has three large wall screens and a computer which is linked to the university network (Microsoft Office).

You can view the set-up of the Buchanan room from our virtual tour.

The Buchanan Room at the Dove Marine Laboratory

Evans Room

With sinks, laboratory style benches and wall-mounted audio-visual presentation equipment, this room doubles as a laboratory-style workshop room or a novel meeting room in a marine laboratory setting.

It holds 30 people comfortably. You can view the Evans room in our virtual tour.

Teaching in the Evans Room at the Dove Marine Laboratory

Additional Facilities

We can also provide:

  • wireless access
  • flipcharts
  • wall-mounted computer-linked flatscreens for audio-visual presentations
  • stationary
  • catering provision
  • reception support

There is free parking in the immediate vicinity and excellent public transport links to the city centre.

Book a room

For further information and to discuss your booking needs, please contact Mrs Jill Cowans: 


Dove Marine Laboratory
School of Natural and Environmental Sciences
Newcastle University
Cullercoats, North Shields
NE30 4PZ

Telephone: +44 (0)191 208 3051
Fax: +44 (0)191 252 1054

Dove Time Series

Newcastle University has maintained a monitoring programme of marine biota off the Northumberland Coast for 40 years.

In this era of climate change, overfishing and habitat destruction, it is essential to have evidence that can distinguish anthropogenic impact from natural fluctuations in marine populations.

Long-term datasets are invaluable for this, and so we maintain a plankton and a benthic time series.

We welcome scientific collaboration, and approaches by scientists who want to access the samples or data.

On the deck of the Research Vessel Princess Royal

Plankton Dove Time Series

This time series was established in 1969. We sample plankton monthly at a site of 55m depth, five nautical miles of the Northumberland coast (550 07’N 001020’W).

We use three mesh sizes:

  • WP-3 (1mm mesh) towed obliquely
  • WP-2 (200µm mesh) deployed in 4 vertical hauls from 50m to surface
  • ‘fine-mesh’ conical net (65µm mesh) deployed in 4 vertical hauls from 50m to surface and pooled

We preserve the samples in 4% buffered formaldehyde for storage, and subsequently transferred to 70% ethanol for processing.

The physical samples are stored at the Dove Marine Laboratory.

The time series was established as a zooplankton monitoring programme, and the methodology reflects this. However, the preserved samples are analysed semi-quantitatively (M Baptie) to determine long term changes in phytoplankton community composition.

Both zooplankton and phytoplankton assemblages exhibit long term changes in community structure and indicators of environmental change.

Contact us

Dr Jane Delany
Tel: +44 (0)191 208 3053

Benthic Dove Time Series

This time series was established in 1971. The benthic time series is currently supported and co-funded jointly with University of Liverpool.

Samples are taken at two sites 2-4 times per year, but sampling was more frequent (up to 30 grabs per year) in the early years of the programme.

Replicate 0.1m2 grabs are sieved over a 0.5mm mesh and the residue fixed in 4% buffered formalin.

Physical samples have not been stored after identification and processing.

We have detected a number of marked shifts in community assemblage composition in these samples.

Station P: Located 18.5km off the Northumberland coast, at a depth of 80m (55° 07? N, 01° 15? W).

Station M1: Located 10.5km off the Northumberland coast at a depth of 55m.

Contact us

Dr Ben Wigham
Tel: +44 (0)191 208 3054