Office of the Registrar
General Information (2019/2020)
11.21 Ocean Sciences Centre (OSC)
  • Director
  • Fletcher, G.L., B.Sc. British Columbia, Ph.D. California; Professor Emeritus; Head, Department of Ocean Sciences

An up-to-date personnel listing is available at

The Ocean Sciences Centre (OSC) is a major facility for marine research on the Atlantic coast, and is one of Canada's largest marine laboratories. It houses the Department of Ocean Sciences, the Joe Brown Aquatic Research Building and the recently constructed Cold-Ocean and Deep-Sea Research Facility (CDRF). The OSC provides Canadian and international scientists and students access to the flora and fauna of the northwest Atlantic Ocean and is uniquely suited for shore-based studies of cold-ocean processes and subarctic, Arctic and deep-sea organisms. The facility provides all the necessary elements to conduct first-rate marine science, including high quality seawater, equipment to collect and maintain aquatic organisms, boats and vehicles to access field sites, laboratory space with running seawater, cutting-edge analytical and molecular biological instruments, and support staff. A strategic goal of the OSC is to carry out world-class research that focuses on organisms and processes in cold oceans, and to provide high quality educational and training opportunities.

Located at Logy Bay, 10 km from the St. John's campus, the OSC has an excellent unpolluted seawater supply that is the lifeline of the centre. There are 57 laboratories of varying size, some of which have flowing seawater and others which are dedicated for analytical chemistry, biochemistry, physiology, histology, molecular biology (genetics and genomics) and microscopy. There are several cold rooms for controlled physiological experiments and common-use rooms for fish sampling, microscopy/image analysis, high-speed centrifugation, and radioisotope analyses. Field Services maintain a suite of oceanographic sampling tools. The unit operates a 4 m zodiac, 7 m Boston Whaler and 5 ton multi-purpose vehicle with aeration and recirculating seawater holding tanks (2500 L) suitable for transporting live specimens over long distances.

The Dr. Joe Brown Aquatic Research Building (JBARB) provides state-of-the-art facilities and world class staff with expertise to support research, training, pre-commercial production, and small-scale commercial trials in marine aquaculture. A critical component of the 1400 square meters facility is a seawater system designed to deliver high quality, temperature-controlled, flow-through water. Separate tanks and rooms are available for broodstock conditioning, paired mating, hatchery rearing, first feeding/nursery operations, grow-out and physiological investigations on various marine species including fishes, molluscs, and echinoderms. The JBARB carries out research in collaboration with Memorial University of Newfoundland, and government and industry partners. The aquaculture potential of various marine species (Atlantic cod, Atlantic salmon, Arctic char, Steelhead trout, cunners, flounder, oysters, mussels, sea cucumbers, sea urchins, etc.) is being evaluated through the study of broodstock biology, physiology and genomics, and the development of larval rearing techniques.

The Cold-Ocean Deep-Sea Research Facility (CDRF), provides researchers with access to state of the art infrastructure and equipment for the study of freshwater and marine organisms, especially those from the cold waters of the Arctic and North Atlantic oceans. The CDRF uniquely provides a local seawater line for a continuous flow-through water supply to an AQC3 certified biocontainment facility. The facility is newly equipped with histology, microscopy and cell culture equipment. Together, these tools are used to study the biology and mitigation of disease in commercial fisheries species. Pressure vessels, the only ones of their kind in North America, are used for original research on deep-sea life and equipment.

Research Themes

  • physiology, biochemistry and molecular biology

  • marine biotechnology

  • biological and chemical oceanography

  • behavioural and population ecology

  • aquaculture and fisheries

  • marine biogeochemistry