School of Natural and Environmental Sciences

Ridley Research Laboratories

Ridley Laboratories


The Ridley Building is where the Marine Science staff have their campus based offices and research facilities.

Based in the University's city centre campus, the Ridley Building houses offices, lecture theatres and seminar rooms. We also have laboratories, aquariums and an algal culture suite. 

Contact us

David Whitaker
School of Natural and Environmental Sciences
Ridley Building
Claremont Road
Newcastle University
Newcastle upon Tyne

Tel: +44 (0)191 208 6659
Fax: +44 (0)191 208 7891

Ridley Building, Claremont Road

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Virtual tour

Take a virtual tour of the facilities we have in the Ridley Building.


We have a suite of 10 modern research-ready laboratories located within the Ridley Building.

The laboratories are equipped to service a variety of scientific research activities including:

  • Marine Biogeochemisty
  • Applied Marine Biology
  • Marine Ecology

Specialist facilities

Computer controlled force gauge and Pressurised WaterJet

This equipment measures the strength of adhesion of hard fouling organisms on coatings on microscope slide size surfaces. This was built for our lab by Advanced Analysis and Integration Ltd.

Contact angle goniometer

This facility measures the spreading of a probe liquid on a surface. It provides data on surface chemistry and the relative importance of polar/dispersive and Lewis acid-base interactions. Here it is applied in the context of marine bioadhesion.

Molecular Biology Suite

We are equipped to perform the following molecular techniques:

  • SDS-PAGE gel electrophoresis
  • 2D-gels
  • Western and Northern Blotting
  • PCR and Column Chromatography

EthoVision® Video Tracking System and Simi Motion® 3D Tracking System

We use this for automation of behavioural measurements.

Sperm Class Analyser®

This automates the analysis of sperm quality to provide rapid, accurate and objective results of motility, concentration, morphology and DNA fragmentation.

Other facilities


  • objective results of motility, concentration, morphology and DNA fragmentation
  • uHPLC and Mass Spectometry
  • freeze drier for sample preparation for analysis
  • Gas Chromatography for analysis of trace gases (Methane, Sulfur hexaflouride, Carbon dioxide and Nitrous oxide)
  • Air-Sea Gas Exchange Tank to simulate natural air-sea gas transfer with waves and surface films
  • Spectrophotometers -3D Fluorescence, UV-Vis and Microplate Fluorescence
  • time lapse video microscopy, digital image capture and high-speed video capture (1000frames/sec)
Ridley Laboratory


We have four commercially available re-circulating filter systems. Each individual aquarium can be fully and independently adjusted for temperature, salinity and photoperiod.

Our aquaria are filled with artificial seawater made from Reverse Osmosis filtered tap water and a commercial sea salt.

In-line systems include UV sterilisation, trickle bio-tower and fluid sand filtration, protein skimming and ozonation.

The aquaria are suitable as holding and experimental facilities for temperate and tropical marine invertebrates, including non-native species.

Find out more about TMC System Marine, other components specifications and our testing capability in our specifications information.

Other Aquarium Facilities

  • cooling incubators - house experimental invertebrates outside of the main aquarium
  • pH control for CO2 Dosing - testing ocean acidification effects on invertebrate reproduction and development
  • constant temperature rooms - housing organisms and samples for teaching and research
  • Algal Culture Suite - for the production of algae and live food for invertebrate research

Algal Culture Suite

We have a designated algal culture facility for the production of algae for research.

The algal culture facilities allow for batch production of marine and freshwater microalgae under controlled environmental conditions.

We grow microalgae to feed larvae and for biotechnology and toxin research.

We maintain master cultures of 100ml to 20L carboy batch cultures of single strain algal stocks.

Our research includes algal biofuels (bio-diesel and bio-ethanol) and chemical signaling.


  • constant temperature room, maintained at 19 degrees celsius with a controlled light:dark cycle of 16:8 hours
  • aeration provided by air pumps through Hepa-Vent filters for sterile culture
  • autoclave used for sterilisation of media and samples
  • microbiological safety cabinet for sterile culture transfer and inoculation
  • LED Photobioreactor with a 2.5L capacity, used for algal culture under controlled environmental parameters


Algal Culture Laboratory


Find out about our specifications.

TMC System Marine Components

  • a 750 litre pallet reservoir constructed of HDPE complete with support grid
  • 100 micron bag filters
  • a fluidised sand filter with 15 kilos of oolitic coral sand
  • a re-gassing/trickling bio-tower with 70 litres of TMC Bio-rings
  • random fill media (210m2/m3) and five side wall flow-deflector rings
  • a Protein Skimmer with venturi pump and internal and external foam cup wash kits

We also have a TMC commercial UV steriliser P8-440w, a filtration circulation pump, and an aquarium supply pump (½ hp self priming).

Other Components

  • an Ozone generator connected to a protein skimmer
  • a Tricool roof chiller supplying cooler water/glycol mix to plate heat-exchangers
  • air pumps (60 L/min)
  • day-length tracker lighting control, which follows photoperiod at fully adjustable longitude and latitude locations
  • RO water filtration supplying 100 gallons/day (20” 5 micron pre-filter, 20” carbon filter and 2x 100 gpd membrane filters)

We also have a YSI 5200 recirculating system monitor with multi-probe (temperature, conductivity, pH, ORP, salinity and dissolved oxygen). It has a control function with relays for temperature and ORP (ozone).

Testing Capability

The maximum capacity for the system is 5000 litres and 25-50 kg biomass.

We have fully adaptable table-top space for tanks (depth 2ft, length 2x 53” 2x 79” 2x 83”), and a total of 24 water supply taps.

We can offer a temperature range from 6-40 degrees celsius, and fully adjustable salinity.