The AquaCore facility is unique amongst research institutions in Australia, providing the space where ARMI houses and breeds diverse aquatic freshwater and marine species including/such as zebrafish, medaka, killifish, axolotl and sharks. Aquatic animals are important model organisms for biomedical research and in particular for regenerative biology.

Zebrafish is a leading model in biomedical research and are used to model human diseases and conditions to improve our understanding of how the body regenerates. They have become a key tool in regenerative medicine research because of a number genetic advantages. AquaCore provides wild-type zebrafish as well as genetically modified and mutant strains. The facility is the largest of its kind in the southern hemisphere, with 1,000 quarantine and 5,200 non-quarantine tanks and can meet the needs of ARMI, Monash University and the external biomedical research community.

AquaCore has established freshwater aquarium sections dedicated to Medaka and Killifish. Medaka and Killifish are leading complementary models to zebrafish that have significant advantages for research in genetics and ageing.

Shark species are critical to understanding the evolution and development of regenerative biology. Generally considered to be the forerunners of modern jawed vertebrates, sharks display many traits associated with primitive vertebrate biology, in particular, the ability to regenerate tissue – a feat most famous for allowing sharks to regenerate their teeth indefinitely. The AquaCore facility generates and maintains broodstock of Epaulette sharks for the production of embryos, providing our researchers with valuable stem cells for use in their studies.

The axolotl has long been an important species for medical and regenerative biology research. Showcasing another common aspect of primitive vertebrate biology, axolotls do not heal by scarring and are capable of regenerating entire limbs and organs, even damaged organs transplanted from a different individual. The observation of their growth and maturation has generated key knowledge on the processes by which the vertebra is formed. They are a mainstay model of regeneration and regular residents of AquaCore.

AquaCore supplies and houses zebrafish used by researchers to model a variety of human diseases and conditions.

In addition to the aquarium facilities, AquaCore has a phenotyping laboratory with the infrastructure necessary for phenotypic analyses, embryonic and adult fish manipulation and generation of transgenic and mutant animals.

It also has microscopes with microinjection apparatus, dedicated confocal microscopy for time-lapse analysis of live animals, and the equipment for laser ablation and single-cell labelling.

AquaCore is certified to a Physical Containment level 2 (PC2) by the Office of the Gene Technology Regulator. It has a large AQIS-approved zebrafish quarantine facility and provides infrastructure and knowhow for imports of zebrafish for laboratories in Australia.