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Plentzia Marine Station


The Plentzia Marine Station (PiE-UPV/EHU) is the University of the Basque Country´s (UPV/EHU) marine research infrastructure, established in July 2012. It is located in a refurbished building constructed one century ago to fight against tuberculosis and bone disease,  15 km away from the main Campus. Working together with the local Biscay Provincial Government and UPV/EHU, it is a centre for promoting research, education and dissemination for the protection of ocean and human health and wealth, and for promoting environmental science, technology and awareness. 

PiE-UPV/EHU houses 10 research groups. Its research is focused firstly on conducting high-quality experimentation under controlled laboratory and field conditions; secondly on studying phenomena in the areas of cell and molecular biology, genetics, physiology, toxicology, stress biology and systems biology; and, finally, on applying advanced methodologies of experimentation with marine organisms, in vitro assays, omics, cryotechnology, spectroscopy, microscopy, image analysis and data treatment.

The Plentzia Marine Station is an institution of the University of the Basque Country (UPV/EHU), and is devoted to scientific and technological research, education, science dissemination and environmental awareness. Its research is focused firstly on conducting high-quality experimentation under controlled wet lab and field conditions; secondly on studying phenomena in the areas of cell biology, molecular biology and genetics, experimental physiology, marine ecosystem health observation, experimental toxicology, pathology, stress biology and biopharmacy; and finally on applying advanced experimentation methodologies with marine organisms (in-vitro assays, omics, spectroscopy, cryotechnology, microscopy, image analysis, data treatment). The Ocean & Health Research Unit developes tools for marine ecosystem health assessment (biomarkers, bioassays, biosensors, and biodiversity) and seafood quality/safety assurance. 

Main Services

Provision of Biological resources and culture collections

  • “Biscay Bay Environmental Biospecimen Bank (BBEBB)”: frozen and paraffin-embedded samples, histological sections and shell/otolith bank.
  • Microalgae collection.
  • Collection of specimens from ecosystems in Basque coast and estuaries.

Animal models

  • Polychaetes (Hediste diversicolor)
  • Bivalves (Mytilus galloprovincialis, Mytilus edulis, Crassostrea sp.)
  • Gastropods (Littorina littorea)
  • Copepods (Acartia clausi, Acartia tonsa)
  • Teleosts (Chelon labrosus, Scopththalmus maximus, Dicentrarchus labrax, Anguilla anguilla, Sparus aurata, Solea sp., tunids)

Access to ecosystems

  • Zodiac boat (4,5 m) for coastal sampling.
  • Fully equipped mobile laboratory and 4x4 vehicle to sample the intertidal rocky shores and beaches.
  • Access to offshore ichthyofauna through the local commercial fleet.
  • Animal caging in estuaries.
  • SCUBA diving upon request.

Technology platforms

  • Molecular biology and omis technologies: transcriptomics, proteomics, metabolomics.
  • Microscopy and bio-imaging: advanced light/fluorescence microscopy and high-resolution slide scanning platform. Expertise in image analysis, stereology and planimetry.
  • Environmental BioBanking: cryo-preparation laboratory, cryogenic storage room, freeze-drying, tissue biopsies, DNA, RNA and homogenates, mineralised tissue (shell, otolith) and Archival Management Unit.
  • Immunology: PL3 biosafety facility (10 x 40L aquaria)
  • Toxicology: zebrafish research facility, experimental marine aquaria.
  • Biological analysis: histological processing, biochemistry, vertebrate and invertebrate cell culture; microbiology;
  • Secondary metabolites and xenobiotics: Quadropole-Orbitrap Mass Spectrometer, preparatory analytical chemistry complemented with fully accessible advanced chemical analysis service at Campus.

Experimental facilities
Experimental aquaria

  • Quarantine Room
  • Toxic Algae room
  • PL2 Room (PL3 Biosafety Cabinet)
  • Fish Embryo Toxicity Testing Unit
  • Microscale Toxicity Testing Room
  • Three rooms with different capacity aquaria (15 units of 500 l; 15 of 1000-1500 l; 8 of 2500-4000 l)
  • Outdoor mesocosms (2 units of 20000 l + 2 of 10000)

All aquaria facilities provided with independently regulated photoperiod and temperature (except mesocosms), high-quality seawater (300000 L/day) and air supply. Flow-through, static or semistatic water supply systems for experimentation with toxicants.


Wet/Dry facilities

  • Dissection room and two equipped multiuse laboratories for visiting scientists.

Fish-rearing facilities

  • Invertebrate and Fish Nurseries.

Training and education

  • PiE-UPV/EHU houses three master degrees and 2 PhD programmes:
  • Training course in Scientific diving.
  • International postgraduate courses.
  • Summer schools.
  • Research internships.

E-infrastructures and associated services

  • Access to transcriptomic data on responses to chemical exposure for Chelon labrosus, Anguilla anguilla, Mytilus galloprovincialis.

Supporting facilities

  • Lecture theatres, conference auditorium, seminar room
  • Office space for technicians, master and PhD students and researchers.
  • On-site dining room for 15 people.
  • Access to sequencing including NGS, microarray analysis, advanced analytical chemistry and supercomputing available at the main UPV/EHU Campus (15 km distance) in the research services (SGIker-UPV/EHU) as internal users.
  • Easy connection to Bilbao (subway) and to the world (20 km to international airport of Bilbao).
Areatza Pasealekua w/n
48620 Plentzia - Bizkaia Vizcaya
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