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Floedevigen Research Station, Arendal
Photo: Øystein Paulsen
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Flødevigen Research Station

Flødevigen Research Station near Arendal was founded in 1882, as a “hatchery” for cod fry. Now 125 years old, it is one of the oldest stations of its kind in Europe. The station is situated at Hisøy, near Arendal.

The hatching facility was started on the initiative of Gunder Mathiesen Dannevig, who wished to regenerate the cod stocks of the Skagerrak coast, which had been much stronger “in the old days”. During the first thirty years of its existence, the work of the station focused on hatching cod and trying to demonstrate the usefulness of the procedure. This led to what were often lively debates, that have been of great importance for our understanding of recruitment mechanisms in marine fish species. It also meant that the important series of shore net-hauls that continue to this day were properly organised from 1919 onwards.

The station developed from being a purely privately financed institution in the direction of a growing dependence on public-sector support, and was finally taken over by the state in 1917. From 1911, G.M. Dannevig’s son Alf was director of the station. Little by little, it assumed the character of a marine biology research station, which in the course of the years worked on a large number of problems in the field and the laboratory. However, it retained its name of “hatchery” until 1957, when a third-generation Dannevig – Gunnar – took over, since when it has been known as the Flødevigen Biological Station.

All-round research

In 1974, the station became part of the Institute of Marine Research. Flødevigen has the equipment and the competence to perform a wide range of research in the field, the laboratory, indoor aquarium facilities and in its large outdoor basins. Today, resource management-oriented and basic research in a wide range of fields is carried out at Flødevigen:

  • Coastal zone ecology and mapping of biological resources in the coastal zone
  • Environmental conditions on the coast and in the Skagerrak and the North Sea
  • Zooplankton and planktonic algae, including the hazardous algae that make shellfish toxic to human beings.
  • Coastal resources such as lobsters, eels and coastal cod
  • Shrimp, herring, sardines and industrial fish resources in the Skagerrak and the North Sea
  • The deep-sea resources of the North-east Atlantic.

Flødevigen hosts the secretariat of the important international MAR-ECO project, which is studying the marine zoology of the Mid-Atlantic Ridge between Iceland and the Azores. You can read more about MAR-ECO at www.mar-eco.no.

Current plans are for the research station to be upgraded and expanded to further increase its ability to perform research of high international standard. The aim is that new, improved aquarium, office and laboratory facilities costing around NOK 25 million should be ready for use in the course of 2008.