UCSC Marine Biology Station

History of the Marine Biology Station Abate Juan Ignacio Molina (Estación de Biología Marina Abate Juan Ignacio Molina) of the UCSC in Lenga.

by Juan M. Cancino

It was born with the name of Laboratorio Costero Lenga de la Universidad Católica de la Santísima Concepción (UCSC), and is located in San Vicente Bay, Hualpén Peninsula, on a beach land belonging to the Ministry of National Assets and granted in concession to the UCSC. It was built with contributions from the International Center for Research and Development of Canada within the framework of a project directed by Dr. Alberto Arrizaga, in addition to UCSC’s own resources.

It was inaugurated on May 4, 1994 by the Archbishop of Concepción and Chancellor of the UCSC, Monsignor Antonio Moreno Casamitjana and by the Rector of the University, Fr. Eliseo Escudero Herrero, when Dr. Juan M. Cancino was Dean of the Faculty of Sciences.

Its main function is to support research, teaching and extension activities in marine sciences carried out by the Facultad de Ciencias of the UCSC. Research projects of the Faculty’s professors are carried out here, as well as research reports, theses and seminars of the Faculty’s undergraduate and graduate students in the areas of Marine Biology and Ecology, Environmental Chemistry, Biodiversity and Bioresources. In normal times it receives annually more than 1,000 visitors, tourists, students and teachers from educational establishments in the region.

As of February 27, 2010, it had a total of 185 m2 of constructed area, distributed in aquarium areas with circulating seawater, dry laboratories and microalgae culture areas. It has semi-controlled environments for scientific research, including rooms with trays suitable for maintaining marine organisms with circulating seawater, pre-filtered or unfiltered, taken directly from San Vicente Bay and pumped to the storage ponds from where it is distributed to the aquariums by gravity. The water circulating through the Laboratory is returned to the sea without any product or foreign element that may have been added during its passage through the aquariums. The equipment for the teaching and practice of scuba diving and the boats of the Faculty are managed from these facilities.

Until February 27, 2010, it had a guesthouse, which was destroyed by the earthquake. For this reason, it was remodeled, generating new offices and classrooms, and in the place where the guest house used to be, a place of prayer was created, presided over by the Virgin of Labor.

It was reopened on June 30, 2010, with the name “Estación de Biología Marina Abate Juan Ignacio Molina“, as an explicit tribute to the first national scientist. The re-inauguration ceremony was presided over by the Chancellor of the UCSC Monsignor Ricardo Ezzati Andrello, and the Dean of the Faculty was Dr. Carolina Aguirre and rector Juan M. Cancino. From this moment on, a lookout point was also set up, which is frequented daily by many visitors.

Since its creation in 1994, this unit has been under the administrative supervision of the Facultad de Ciencias of the UCSC and has been in charge of Prof. Drs. Alberto Arrizaga, Ricardo Otaíza, Cristian W. Cáceres, Álvaro Palma, Juan M. Cancino, Dagoberto Arcos, Antonio Brante, Paula Neill, and again Ricardo Otaíza, its current director.

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