History of the Marine Biological Station of Agigea

Marine Biological Station "King Ferdinand" has been founded in 1926, by the High Royal Decree of 1 March 1926 and it was the first marine research institution in Romania. Its founder, professor Ioan Borcea was the Dean of the Faculty of Natural Sciences of the "Alexandru Ioan Cuza" University of Iasi, the director of the Natural History Museum of Iasi, the minister of Cults and Public Instruction between 1919 and 1920, and in the public life a member of the Rural Party (1919).

Initially, the Marine Biological Station was created with the mission to provide teaching aids for students and researchers interested in marine organisms. There were organized courses, summer school activities, training courses for teachers and students from schools and universities from all the country. It was also based on research activities, carried at the beginning by the dons from the "Alexandru Ioan Cuza" University of Iasi and later on by its own staff. The main goals of the marine research were oceanography, marine flora and fauna along to the Romanian coastal line, animal morphology and physiology, marine microbiology.

At the very beginning, a small boat - "Posidonia" - was hired for sea expeditions and collection of samples. After the disappearance of its first director (1936), Prof. Constantin Motas, a prominent Romanian limnologist, took further the station issues. Up to 1940, two own boats were procured – the motorboat "Sagitta" and the small scull "Noctiluca".

Results of scientific activities, carried out at the Station, were chiefly published in Annales Scientifiques de l’Université de Jassy. In 1938, 1939 and 1940 the papers issued at the Marine Biological Station and published in various journals were united into three separate volumes as Scientific Papers of the Marine Biological Station of Agigea.

At the 30th anniversary of the Marine Biological Station of Agigea (1956), the founder’s name was conferred to the station as the Marine Zoological Station "Prof. Dr. Ioan Borcea" of Agigea.

During the 1956-1966, the Station had remarkable scientific results. Prof. Dr. Ionel Andriescu, the director of the Marine Biological Station at that time, completed the accommodation facilities for Romanian and foreign researchers, endowed the laboratories with up to date scientific equipment, a significant library (12 000 volumes) and increased the number of scientific researchers. The number of laboratories and research topics increased to twelve. A 70 tdw research vessel "Gilortul" was obtained and equipped with the all gear needed for marine research.

In 1969, under the auspices of the Mediterranean Association of Marine Biology and Oceanography (MAMBO) and with the support from the Ministry of Education, at Marine Biological Station of Agigea was organized by Prof. Eugen Pora, Prof. Mihai Bacescu and Prof. Radu Codreanu the first international course on the Black Sea brackish waters. In 1970, the Marine Biological Station of Agigea was integrated into the Romanian Marine Research Institute (RMRI) in Constanţa, which was created by the fusion of all marine research institutions from the Romanian Black Sea coast.

In 1990, the Marine Biological Station "Prof Dr. Ioan Borcea" was returned to the "Alexandru Ioan Cuza" University of Iasi. Its first director after the Revolution from 1989, prof. Gheorghe Mustata, rearranged the location and reorganized the summer courses for students.

Students and researchers from Romania and international scientific institutions have participated yearly to workshops, conferences and summers schools proceeded at the Marine Biological Station of Agigea. Since 1990, teaching programs and research activities continue up today. There have been made significant efforts to provide scientists and students with adequate teaching laboratories, research facilities and accommodation.

Between 1990 and 2008 at the Marine Biological Station of Agigea were carried out 15 research grants from the government, which facilitated the acquisition of scientific equipment. Via the University of Iasi funds, researchers will be able to collect their samples with a new research vessel.

The Station and its founder, Prof. Ioan Borcea

Phytoplankton laboratory

The R/V Racovita

The Marine Biological Station library, in 1960