CIIMAR is a leading research and advanced training institution working on the frontier of knowledge and innovation. The centre uses knowledge-based approaches to promote the natural capital and the sustained management of marine resources through monitoring of ecosystems health, optimisation of aquaculture, and biotechnological exploitation of the resources for environmental and human health applications. CIIMAR brings together 380 researchers, of which 180 holding a PhD degree, covering an extensive diversity of scientific and technological skills and expertise. CIIMAR´s new state-of-the-art facilities for research, training and services are located at the heart of the maritime industry and services in the Northern region of Portugal (Leixões harbour).

CIIMAR fields of expertise cover three research domains: global changes and ecosystem services, aquaculture and seafood quality, and marine biotechnology. These address important economic and societal challenges, in line with the goals of the 2030 Agenda (UN Goals for Sustainable Development).


  • Estuaries
  • Intertidal sandy shores
  • Coastal dunes
  • Kelp forests
  • Pelagic waters
  • Natura 2000 site “Litoral Norte”
  • Encompasses 19 habitat types of Annex I of the EU Habitats Directive are reported, three of which are priority habitats


Ecosystem access

  • Coastal research vessels (On-site service)
    • Coastal research vessels operating in Northern Portugal, Atlantic Western coast, nearby estuaries, intertidal, subtidal
  • Scuba diving facilities  (On-site service)
    • The CIIMAR scientific diving team is fully certified in scientific diving, providing access to operations such as: collection of biological samples; underwater experimental deployment; sensor/probes deployment and/or testing; video and photograph collection.
  • Sampling equipment  (On-site service)
    • Facilities and equipment for sampling preparation and processing: water column or sediment (Niskin bottles, nets, etc.); and in situ environmental monitoring (CTD, multiparameter probes, etc.) - in Northern Portugal, Atlantic Western coast, Intertidal, Subtidal


Biological resources

  • Culture collections  (On-site service)​​​​​​​
    • LEGE culture collection (400 Cyanobacterial strains);
    • Access to cultures of Actinobacteria, Planctomycetes and bacteria from different phyla (Proteobacteria, Firmicutes and Bacteroidetes)
  • Species collected upon request  (On-site service)​​​​​​​
    • Species from the Atlantic Western coast of Portugal and adjacent estuaries
  • Marine model organisms  (On-site service)​​​​​​​
    • A range of aquaculture fish species, invertebrates, macroalgae and model organisms can be provided: e.g.: Dicentrarchus labrax, Spaurus aurata, Diplodus sargos, Lipophrys pholis, Solea senegalensis, Psetta maxima, Anguilla anguilla, Cyprinus carpio, Salmo trutta fario, Onchorhynchus mykiss, Danio rerio, Torpedo marmorata, Scyliorhinus canicula, Paracentritus lividus, Gammarus locusta, Artemia salina, Laminaria ochroleuca, Laminaria hyperborea, Saccharina latissima, Saccorhiza polyschides


Experimental facilities

  • Aquaria and tanks  (On-site service)​​​​​​​
    • CIIMAR Aquaculture Platform: 5L - 600L tanks, RAS, salinity control, temperature, conductivity, redox, photoperiod control, diverse species tank, automatic feeders, faeces collectors, technical support.
  • Mesocosms  (On-site service)​​​​​​​
    • Small mesocosms for ecological and bioremediation experimental studies
  • Climate controlled rooms  (On-site service)​​​​​​​
    • Experimental facilities focusing on microorganism cultivation
  • Dry labs  (On-site service)​​​​​​​
    • General purpose dry labs at CIIMAR, serving specific techniques
  • Wet labs  (On-site service)​​​​​​​
    • General purpose wet laboratories to support aquaculture, ecotoxicology and ecological experiments


Technology platforms

  • Bioassays  (On-site service)​​​​​​​
    • Bioactivity screening assays: antifouling, antimicrobial, anticancer, allelopathy, anti-obesity, anti-inflammatory
  • Imaging  (On-site service)​​​​​​​
    • Light, inverted and epifluorescence microscopy with image acquisition
  • Molecular biology and omics  (On-site service)​​​​​​​
    • Access to the complete workflow for:
      • Proteomics analysis (SDS-PAGE; -DE; Blue-native PAGE; label-free quantitative proteomics; shotgun proteomics)
      • Genomic identification of organisms and gene based analyses (DNA extraction, sequencing and bionformatics (NGS))
      • Gene expression studies (PCR)
  • Structural and chemical analysis  (On-site service)​​​​​​​
    • Fully equipped analytical laboratory:
    • Segmented Flow Analysers (SFA)
    • Atomic Absorption Spectrometers (AAS)
    • Liquid Chromatography-Mass Spectrometry (LC-MS/MS) and HPLC
    • Gas Chromatographs (GC-FID and Mass Spectrometry)
    • Organic Elemental Analyser-Isotope Ratio Mass Spectrometer (EA-IRMS)
  • Other technology platforms  (On-site service)​​​​​​​
    • Access to the CIIMAR Biodiscovery and Biorefinery Platform:
      • Medium-scale microalgae culturing (up to 200 L per vessel)
      • Microalgalbacterial biomass harvesting
      • Extraction of algalbacterial biomass
      • Isolation of natural products; Structural elucidation of unknown small molecules
      • Medicinal chemistry modifications and total synthesis



  • Computing and storage infrastructure  (On-site service)​​​​​​​
    • CIIMAR Bioinformatics Platform: genomics and transcriptomics software, genome assembly, sequence databases

Supporting facilities

  • Library services  (On-site service)​​​​​​​
    •  Online bibliographic databases 



CIIMAR – Centro Interdisciplinar de Investigação Marinha e Ambiental, Novo Edifício do Terminal de Cruzeiros do Porto de Leixões
Avenida General Norton de Matos, S/N
4450-208 Matosinhos
Liaison officers:
  • Susana Moreira ( )
  • Ana Cavadas ( )
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