Analytical Services

Microalgae identification for seawater and freshwater

Experts in the identification of algae

Seawater microalgae analysis

Our International Accreditation New Zealand (IANZ) accredited laboratory offers identification and cell counts for marine water. Operating since 1993, our microalgae laboratory provides early warning of risks associated with toxic marine species at over 110 sites around the coast of New Zealand.

Microalgae monitoring

Microalgae monitoring can reduce the need for shellfish testing in approved regional programmes, and provides key information to authorities responsible for the safety of recreational shellfish gathering.

We also offer molecular techniques to accurately identify potentially toxic algae. If you have particular requirements for phytoplankton testing, we are happy to discuss them with you.

Research and consultancy services for aquaculture

In collaboration with other Cawthron researchers, we provide a complete service to customers concerned about an algae bloom that may be threatening their waterways or export products.

Our experts can work with you to identify the species concerned, monitor the situation, assess the impact on the environment, and design a monitoring program to manage those risks. This service is available for both farmed and wild species. We also assist with additional training for laboratory staff who are analysing water samples for any toxic species on a routine basis.


Listen to Catherine Moisan talk about our natural toxin and microalgae monitoring

Harmful algal bloom research – the HABTech Programme

Cawthron's research team is actively investigating all major toxin groups to protect public health and the shellfish industry from the effects of Harmful Algal Blooms (HABs).

Cawthron Institute Culture Collection of Microalgae (CICCM)

This internationally-significant living collection of toxic marine microalgae allows us to grow bulk cultures, which are the key to new testing methods and HAB research. 

Click here for more information about this unique collection. 

Freshwater microalgae analysis

Operating since 1993, the Cawthron microalgae laboratory provides early warning of risks associated with toxic species, and provides key information to councils monitoring freshwater lakes, rivers and drinking water supplies for public health purposes.

Our IANZ accredited laboratory offers identification and cell counts of freshwater samples – including cyanobacteria.

Our testing services for public health authorities, regional councils, water supply authorities and private companies ranges from investigative to large-scale routine monitoring.

We also offer molecular techniques to accurately identify potentially toxic algae. If you have particular requirements for phytoplankton testing, we are happy to discuss them with you.

Freshwater toxin analysis

Using fast and reliable Liquid Chromatography–Mass Spectrometry (LCMS) instrumentation, we can test for the presence of toxins generated by microalgae in water samples. Our instrumentation methods can detect the following natural toxins in fresh water:

  • nodularin / microcystin
  • anatoxin / cylindrospermopsin.

Find our more about this service:

Contact Catherine Moisan, Section Head Natural Toxins. 

Contact us

Contact us

+64 3 548 2319