The Concarneau Marine Biology Station is the oldest marine station in the world. It was originally designed for breeding marine animals, but soon became a very active scientific centre. It fulfils each of the Muséum’s five missions and its message is "to learn about, understand and manage the sea to deepen our respect for it".
The Concarneau station specialised in the exploration of marine faunistic biodiversity. Today it has a global audience in this field. For several years, an integrated taxonomy approach (morphology, molecular, ontogenetic) has been implemented in different taxonomic groups: microalgae (in collaboration with the Ifremer team established in the station since 2012), fish (including larvae) and benthic invertebrates, in particular annelids, echinoderms and molluscs.
This research is conducted in the coastal and offshore marine realms of the West Atlantic and Southern oceans. Within the context of global change, integrative functional ecology research has been developed as well as work on carbonate mineralisation, especially with molluscs and echinoderms. Integrated approaches such as these provide models which are essential for the conservation and management of not just biodiversity but ecosystems, too.
These skills developed as part of excellence research are applied for expertise with monitoring inventories and ecosystems (EU Framework Directives relating to marine environments: WFD and MSFD), with the of running of monitoring networks (REBENT for over 40 years) and ZNIEFF-MER and the development of ecological indicators. Concerted actions with local stakeholders (fisheries, aquaculture, etc.) lead to the development of traceability techniques for seafood products. This expertise thereby responds to a strong demand from society.
Education occupies an important place with lectures and field placements offered as part of the Muséum’s Master’s in Evolution, natural heritage and societies. Many training courses are provided to professionals such as fishery observers and maritime affairs officials. The dissemination of knowledge has a prominent role in the station, particularly with the Marinarium, aquariums open to the public all year round, as well as its temporary exhibitions, conferences and workshops. Themed workshops are regularly held for school children and the general public, as well as a large number of conferences.
To find out more about the Concarneau Marine Biology Station, visit: concarneau.mnhn.fr
The Station’s history
The Concarneau Marine Biology Station was created by Victor Coste, a Collège de France professor, in 1859 and is the oldest marine station in the world still in operation. It was originally designed for breeding marine animals, but soon became a very active scientific and academic centre. The breeding techniques for flat fish were developed there at the end of the last century and likewise the basic experiments for experimental embryology were conducted there (Chabry, 1887). Many a scientist has left his mark on Concarneau’s scientific history. They include Georges Pouchet, who first identified the toxic microalgae Dinophysis, Edouard Laguesse, who laid the foundations for the discovery of insulin and Jacques-Arsène d’Arsonval, who studied the electric organ of the torpedo ray, a model still used in neurobiology…