Stazione Zoologica Anton Dohrn (SZN) was founded in 1872 as a privately-owned and operated marine biological research station, where scientists and students from all over the world could perform their research on fresh material and living marine organisms. The SZN provided the facilities and its staff took care of logistics and assistance. These days, SZN is a publicly-owned research institute operated by the Ministry of Research and Higher Education (MIUR). SZN provides TA services for ASSEMBLE Plus, and is also the Italian partner

The mission of SZN is research on the biology and ecology of marine organisms, the study of their biodiversity, the analysis of fundamental biological processes and their potential bio-technological applications. SZN undertakes research in the field of marine bioresources, with an emphasis on the biotechnologies addressing the exploitation of molecules of marine origin for industrial processes, for the pharmaceutics, nutraceutics and other fields of interest.

SZN includes the main facilities at the HQ in Naples, a benthic ecology lab at Ischia Porto, and a marine turtle recuperation and research centre at Portici.


LTER sites between oligotrophic blue water and mesotrophic coastal water where plankton is sampled and enumerated weekly, and metadata in real-time

  • A variety of Mediterranean subtidal benthic and pelagic ecosystems, including seagrass and Maerl beds
  • A natural high-CO2, low-pH cold seep (as model for future community structure)
  • Heavy metals-impacted sites near highly comparable pristine ones
  • Near-shore deep, steep canyons dropping off into the abyssal
  • Semi-enclosed shallow lagoons


Ecosystem access

The Environmental Access & Sampling Unit (MEDA) maintains three coastal research vessels (2 at Naples; 1 at Ischia), with 

  • ROV
  • Diving facilities
  • WaveGlider 
  • Oceanographic equipment
  • Monitoring buoys


Biological resources

Scientific collections of preserved specimens including organisms collected and described in the Gulf of Naples since SZN's foundation. The collection is accessible virtually here.

  • Marine models: microalgae (diatoms: Chaetoceros, Leptocylindrus, Phaeodactylum, Pseudo-nitzschia, Skeletonema; and dinoflagellates: Ostreopsis), seagrass (Posidonia oceanica), echinoderms (e.g. Paracentrotus), cephalopods, copepods, ascidians (Ciona intestinalis), Amphioxus and marine turtles (only for veterinary and conservation research)
  • Microalgae include genetically-modified diatom cultures and cell lines for research and biotech


Experimental facilities and technology platforms

SZN has organised several technology platforms into service units within the research services department RIMAR.

  • The Molecular Biology and Bioinformatics Unit (MB&BI) offers Sanger and NGS sequencing, RT-PCR and high throughput robotic sample processing
  • The Microscopy & Bioimaging Unit (AMOBIO) offers SEM and TEM, processing and sectioning services, elemental analysis, confocal microscopy, live imaging, digital imaging and microinjection. The Flow Cytometry Platform provides cell analyses based on three excitation sources, high-throughput cell sorting and recovering, and other cellular-level manipulations and measurements.
  • The Service MOTax in the Organism Maintenance & Breeding Unit (MaRe) offers taxonomic identification services of marine organisms offers assisted access to culture and experimental facilities, including aquarium tanks, climate-controlled rooms, indoor mesocosms and bioreactors.
  • The Environmental Access & Sampling Unit (MEDA) offers biochemical analysis of environmental samples.
  • Other platforms in the research sections include those for electrophysiology, cell culture, toxicology, biological analysis and in-situ hybridisation.


Associated services

MEDA provides access to databases generated at the LTER stations, monitoring buoys and mesocosms, and bioinformatics support.
Service staff will provide training in the use of the platforms and technologies and assist, if needed, with experimental design and troubleshooting. 
Staff provides specialist courses for experts as well as consultancy.

Amenities include a lunch restaurant as well as conference and lecture facilities for up to 80 persons. SZN provides no in-house lodging, but numerous restaurants, hotels and B&Bs are in walking distance of SZN. Administration assists with hotel reservations.


Villa Comunale
80121 Napoli NA
Liaison officer: Andrea Tarallo (, cc to:

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