Daphnia Facility

The Daphnia Facility supports research, teaching, and training at the University of Birmingham. We offer light- and temperature-controlled laboratory spaces for Daphnia (eco)toxicology and exposure biology experiments, and our extensive collection of Daphnia stock cultures serve as a valuable resource for various evolutionary biology projects.

Research and Innovation

The Daphnia Facility is a key contributor to research excellence and innovation in the College of Life and Environmental Sciences and the University of Birmingham. We support PhD students and postdoctoral researchers undertaking projects in a variety of fields including evolutionary biology, (eco)toxicology, bioremediation, and genomics.

The facility also plays a central role in large-scale European projects such as Precision Tox and PARC, focusing on establishing new approach methodologies (NAMs) to safeguard both human health and the environment. Within UPSTREAM, we have been investigating the potential of Daphnia to combat microplastic and chemical pollution in rivers. Our groundbreaking work in water bioremediation technology has attracted widespread attention, with features in national media and on BBC R4’s ‘Rare Earth’ podcast series. Additionally, our researchers have expanded the previously annotated gene set for Daphnia magna through publication of the first hologenome of the species.

Teaching Support and Student Projects

Our facility supports undergraduate and postgraduate student projects, providing hands-on training and resources for research. Previous students have explored diverse topics, including the impact of microplastics on Daphnia, how genetic variation influences Daphnia sensitivity to heavy metals, and design of a continuous algal production system. We also support the Cell Biology and Physiology module’s annual Daphnia heart rate practical for undergraduate Biosciences students.

Fostering Cross-College Collaborations

Whilst primarily rooted within the College of Life and Environmental Sciences, we actively foster interdisciplinary collaborations across various colleges, including Engineering and Physical Sciences (EPS) and Medical and Dental Sciences (MDS). Several recent publications from researchers in the facility are a result of such interdisciplinary work.

The Daphnia Facility is also one of three facilities within the Centre for Environmental Research and Justice, a partnership between over 20 academics across three colleges specialising in research at the interface of toxicology and environmental governance.

The Daphnia Facility Team

Facility Manager
Marianne Barnard
Email: m.barnard.1@bham.ac.uk

Senior Research Technician
Dr Lisa King

Senior Research Technician
Erin Jarvis

Senior Laboratory Technician
Caroline Sewell

Finance and Administration Officer
Eszter Voros

Media and Engagement

Media Articles, Press Releases, and Reports

(Public) Engagement and Outreach



  • Abdullahi, Muhammad; Stead, Iestyn et al. “Harnessing water fleas for water reclamation: A nature-based tertiary wastewater treatment technology.” The Science of the Total Environment vol. 905 (2023): 167224. doi:10.1016/j.scitotenv.2023.167224
  • Reilly, Katie; Ellis, Laura-Jayne; Davoudi, Hossein; Supian, Suffeiya et al. “Daphnia as a model organism to probe biological responses to nanomaterials-from individual to population effects via adverse outcome pathways.” Frontiers in Toxicology vol. 5 1178482. 14 (2023), doi:10.3389/ftox.2023.1178482
  • PrecisionTox Consortium. “The Precision Toxicology initiative.” Toxicology Letters vol. 383 (2023): 33-42. doi:10.1016/j.toxlet.2023.05.004
  • Chaturvedi, Anurag; Li, Xiaojing; Dhandapani, Vignesh; Marshall, Hollie et al. “The hologenome of Daphnia magna reveals possible DNA methylation and microbiome-mediated evolution of the host genome.” Nucleic Acids Research vol. 51,18 (2023): 9785-9803. doi:10.1093/nar/gkad685


  • Abdullahi, Muhammad; Li, Xiaojing et al. “Daphnia as a Sentinel Species for Environmental Health Protection: A Perspective on Biomonitoring and Bioremediation of Chemical Pollution.” Environmental Science & Technology vol. 56,20 (2022): 14237-14248. doi:10.1021/acs.est.2c01799
  • Abdullahi, Muhammad et al. “Historical exposure to chemicals reduces tolerance to novel chemical stress in Daphnia (waterflea).” Molecular Ecology vol. 31,11 (2022): 3098-3111. doi:10.1111/mec.16451


  • Cuenca-Cambronero, Maria et al. “Evolutionary mechanisms underpinning fitness response to multiple stressors in Daphnia.” Evolutionary Applications vol. 14,10 (2021): 2457-2469. doi:10.1111/eva.13258
  • Ellis, Laura-Jayne et al. “Multigenerational Exposure to Nano-TiO2 Induces Ageing as a Stress Response Mitigated by Environmental Interactions.” Advanced NanoBiomed Research vol. 1,6 (2021): p. 2000083. doi:10.1002/anbr.202000083


  • Suppa, Antonio et al. “Roundup causes embryonic development failure and alters metabolic pathways and gut microbiota functionality in non-target species.” Microbiome vol. 8,1 (2020): p. 170. doi:10.1186/s40168-020-00943-5
  • Ellis, Laura-Jayne et al. “Multigenerational Exposures of Daphnia Magna to Pristine and Aged Silver Nanoparticles: Epigenetic Changes and Phenotypical Ageing Related Effects.” Small (Weinheim an der Bergstrasse, Germany) vol. 16,21 (2020): e2000301. doi:10.1002/smll.202000301
  • Constantinou, Julia K et al. “Characterisation of the dynamic nature of lipids throughout the lifespan of genetically identical female and male Daphnia magna.” Scientific Reports vol. 10,1 5576 (2020), doi:10.1038/s41598-020-62476-z
  • Ellis, Laura-Jayne et al. “Maternal Responses and Adaptive Changes to Environmental Stress via Chronic Nanomaterial Exposure: Differences in Inter and Transgenerational Interclonal Broods of Daphnia magna.” International Journal of Molecular Sciences vol. 22,1 15. (2020), doi:10.3390/ijms22010015


  • Cuenca-Cambronero, Maria and Orsini, Luisa. “Resurrection of Dormant Daphnia magna: Protocol and Applications.” Journal of Visualized Experiments: JoVE ,131 56637 (2018), doi:10.3791/56637

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