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New Zealand Biotron


The New Zealand Biotron is a unique, purpose-built facility for plant, soil and microbe research.

It is owned by the Bio-Protection Research Centre and based at Lincoln University, Canterbury. The facility is an ideal tool for biocontrol, biosecurity and biotechnology research, and is available for external users email to hire.

Simulating ecosystems

Researchers can use the New Zealand Biotron to control a plant’s growing environment above and below ground to study how plants and pests interact under realistic field conditions.

The two-storey facility has six growth chambers on the top floor with air-conditioned rooms underneath each. These rooms have rhizotrons - encased soil samples with access portals - so experiments can be viewed, monitored or manipulated.

The facility is certified Physical Containment 2 (PC2), and can be used for high-risk organisms.

Controlling the environment

The New Zealand Biotron allows precise control of experimental parameters, such as:

  • air temperature (-10-40°C)
  • soil temperature (8-20°C)
  • light (0-1100 μmol per square metre, per second)
  • relative humidity (35-95%)
  • carbon dioxide concentration (ambient to 2000ppm).

Research in the New Zealand Biotron

The New Zealand Biotron can be used for a range of studies including:

  • soil health and ecology
  • high-risk organisms
  • climate change.

Lincoln University Entomology Research Collection

Entomology collection

The Lincoln University Entomology Research Collection is one of New Zealand’s largest and most comprehensive entomological collections, featuring insects and related arthropods from the natural environment as well as those of bioprotection interest. It is hosted by the Bio-Protection Research Centre in Canterbury, New Zealand.

The collection’s specimen holdings are primarily from the New Zealand region. The geographical focus is on the South Island fauna, with substantial collections also from offshore islands including the Chatham Islands, Three Kings Islands and subantarctic island groups. The collection contains comprehensive collections of most insect orders with strengths in beetles, tussock grassland moths and parasitic wasps.

The collection is curated by John Marris.

Collection overview

  • Primarily New Zealand insects, spiders and related arthropods
  • 250,000 pinned insect specimens plus separate slide and ethanol collections
  • Around 60 type specimens
  • The pinned collection is housed in unit tray storage in 1300 Cornell-style drawers.

Aims of the collection

  • To enhance knowledge of New Zealand’s biodiversity.
  • To provide taxonomic expertise and resources for local and international researchers.
  • To develop the collection through continued specimen acquisition.

Access to the collection

Visits and loan requests are welcomed from all bona fide researchers and can be arranged by contacting the Curator John Marris.

Some specimen records are available through the TFBIS (Terrestrial and Freshwater Biodiversity Information System) on the Landcare Research website:

Collection history

Entomology was taught from the earliest days of Lincoln’s existence. Prof F W Hutton, Professor of Biology at Canterbury College, taught Natural Science from 1880 to 1881. Part of his entomology collection is held in the Entomology Research Museum. The collection proper was established in the late 1960s following the appointment of Roy Harrison as Lincoln’s first Professor of Entomology. The collection grew rapidly from that time, particularly as a result of annual Departmental collecting trips to areas of the country that were poorly known entomologically. These trips ceased in the 1990s but the collection continues to be actively added to through research-related collecting by staff and students.

Lincoln University Seed Research Centre

The Seed Research Centre focuses on research and training in seed science and seed technology, product development and commercialisation.

About the Seed Research Centre

The Lincoln University Seed Research Centre was established in 2009 within the Bio-Protection Research Centre. It is based in Canterbury, the major seed production region of New Zealand.

Seed research

The Centre works closely with leading seed researchers and seed companies. Researchers in the Centre are developing new and innovative:

  • microbial seed treatments
  • advanced seed production systems
  • seed coatings
  • seed-transmitted endophytes.

The Centre specialises in identifying and characterising new biological control agents from microbes and developing them into seed delivered products that can protect plants from attack by pests and diseases.

Training in seed technology

Every year the Centre hosts a three-week Seed Technology Short Course for workers in the seed industry, which involves training in seed production, seed quality and post-harvest seed technologies.

The Centre hosts postgraduate researchers from New Zealand and overseas. Contact Prof John Hampton if you are interested in working in the Seed Research Centre.

Manawatu Microscopy and Imaging Centre

The Manawatu Microscopy & Imaging Centre (MMIC) is a multi-user imaging facility based at Massey University. 

We provide researchers with the latest equipment needed for transmitted light and fluorescence microscopy, electron microscopy and image analysis.

The facilities include:

  • Leica TCS SP5 confocal microscope.
  • FEI Quanta 200 environmental Scanning Electron Microscope with digital image capture and EDAX for elemental analysis
  • Philips CM10 Transmission Electron Microscope with SIS Morada high-resolution digital imaging.
  • Four advanced compound research microscopes with digital image capture for Bright Field, DIC and Phase Contrast, Transmitted Light Microscopy and Widefield Fluorescence.
  • Image analysis suite with a range of software for Quantitative Analysis, image rendering, and preparation for publication or presentation.

Biotron Manager

{Larsen Stuart}


{Marris John}

Key contact

{Hampton John}

Contact Prof John Hampton if you are interested in working in the Seed Research Centre

Key contact

{Scott Barry}

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