Marinarium de Concarneau (The Marinarium of Concarneau)
Concarneau is the oldest marine biology station in the world and was founded in 1859 by Victor Coste, a professor at the Collège de France. His dream? To imitate nature by breeding marine animals. More than a century and a half later, the idea is as relevant as ever!
A magnificent view
No wonder that this large, severe-looking building is located right next to Concarneau marina… On the South Finistère coast, just a stone’s throw from the Glénan Islands and a unique group of estuaries, the marine biology station is in an exceptional location. The fishing harbour alone is a fantastic resource because of the diversity of the areas exploited and the techniques used.
You often come across researchers in the public area, where temporary exhibitions are regularly held, because the laboratories are nearby. The Marinarium’s motto is "Learn about the sea and understand it, so we can take better care of it". Alongside the scientists, the teaching staff have selected striking aspects of marine life, illustrated with a variety of media. Through the topics covered, you will discover how important the oceans are and their extraordinary biodiversity: "The station’s scientific activity", "Plankton or living free in the ocean", "Treasures of the shoreline", "Managing the sea", "The Glénan Islands: an atoll in the Atlantic". Make sure you visit the learning room where a nursery is a reminder of just how difficult it is being born and growing up in the ocean!
Aquariums and large pool
The aquariums and the large 120,000 litre pool are another highlight of the trail. Their residents? Local flora and fauna, such as sea bream, coley, pouting and other crustaceans and molluscs. And then, if you wish, go down to the shoreline with a guide from the Marinarium for an organised tour. At low tide, the incredible variety of species and their way of life is laid out in front of your very eyes. To preserve them better, learn the best ways to fish.
Men at sea
Working at the station are fifty or so researchers, technicians, engineers and PhD students who you might come across during your visit. A small world covering 2,700 m² on three levels. In addition, there are 1,500 m² of fish tanks for stocking and open water experiments on marine organisms and 1,800 m² of laboratories and annexes. A 8.50 m boat is anchored off the coast equipped for fishing and taking samples.
Gallery of scientists
From Pouchet, who identified Dinophysis in the 1880s (a micro-algae responsible for producing toxins which contaminate molluscs among other things), to Roche’s major discovery in 1952 — T3 (tri-iodo thyronine), the active thyroid hormone —, and Chabry who laid the foundations of modern embryology and developed the first micro-tools for use under the microscope. An entire galaxy of famous researchers have left their mark at Concarneau.
Be inspired by the scientific adventure of the oceans - the very first experiments in marine aquaculture, the identification of so many organisms from plankton to fish, the behaviour of fish and the discovery of molecules of high therapeutic interest. Come and learn about the kingdom of the sea…