Using molecular techniques, the Sars Centre aims to use marine animals as model systems to study development, most often in an evolutionary context. Major model species are tunicates (the appendicularian Oikopleura, the ascidian Ciona ), the sea anemone Nematostella and various invertebrate protostomes mostly in the group of Lophotrochozoans. Methods include molecular biology, cell biology and genome wide analysis.
There are several research groups at the Centre working with these organisms.
The Sars Centre is also occasionally involved, mostly through external collaborations, in projects on species having direct relevance to aquaculture, fisheries and other industries.