The Oceanografico celebrates its fourth anniversary with a live videoconference with the Antarctic

Feb 14, 2007

The Oceanografico of the City of Arts and Sciences is today celebrating its fourth anniversary and to do so it has organised a videoconference with the Antarctic in which the Head of the Veterinary Service of the Oceanográfico, Daniel García, who since January has been at the Antarctic base of “Gabriel de Castilla” on Deception Island, collaborating with the Army’s Antarctic Campaign research into parasites in marine mammals.  
The Oceanografico celebrates its fourth anniversary with a live videoconference with the Antarctic The Regional Secretary for Events and projects, Luis Lobón, the Head of Biology at the Oceanografico, Pablo Areitio and the Major-General for Operations of the Army’s General Staff, Jaime Domínguez Buj, as well as the attending public have been able to talk directly to Daniel García and Rafael Ayora, Commander-in-Chief of the Gabriel de Castilla base.

In his contribution, Lobón stated that “it is a great honour to have a representative of the Oceanografico in the research projects that are developed in the Antarctic and, it shows that the aims of promoting greater knowledge of marine sciences and marine protection that we have been pursuing for the last four years are being achieved”. Furthermore, he pointed out that in this way, the City of Arts and Sciences is linking up with International Polar Year, a connection that began with the exhibition dedicated to the work that Spain undertakes in that continent and with the third edition of the “Oceanografic Tuesdays” cycle of conferences.

Protection of Antarctic species

From Deception Island, where the Spanish base is located, Daniel García explained what his daily routine is like in the Universidad Complutense’s research project into parasites in seals and sea wolves and what the “taking of blood and faeces samples for later analysis in Spain consists of, which will allow us to find out more about their state of health”. He also said that “ the prior training and experience at the Oceanografico has made this work, now half-completed, easier”.

The head of the Oceanografico’s Veterinary service, which will return in a month’s time, explained that the rigours of the climate “occasionally limit the fieldwork and a simple task that should take a few minutes takes much longer”. However, Daniel García stressed the progress made in sample taking and affirmed that “when we finish the work we will have a significant number of samples”, which will allow us to know these Antarctic species better and improve their protection”.

Among other experiences and anecdotes, Daniel García told us about his voyage to the white continent from Chile, their improvised stopover at Cape Horn where he met a family that live there isolated for months at a time, the “warm” welcome that he received at the military base on arrival, the “igloo” that they have built as a laboratory, as well as how the 15 degrees below zero temperature that they were experiencing today felt”.

Four years getting closer to the sea

Six million visitors, numerous educational activities, conference cycles, exhibitions on various themes, congresses of an international scope and specialist courses, as well as research projects and bio-educational workshops in collaboration with universities and national and international scientific organisations, as well as the success in reproduction projects in captivity with the birth of new specimens, are the high points of the Oceanografic’s existence, that today celebrates its fourth anniversary.

Having become an international reference point – as shown by its designation as the world venue for the 1st International Research Congress into Beluga whales next month – the Oceanografico is one of the most visited centres of a worldwide interest within the field of study, education and research into the marine world.

Moreover, today a new exhibition has been opened, entitled “Lovers of the Sea”, which takes us, using scale-models, audiovisual media and exhibition pieces, on a tour of the four years of the Oceanografico’s existence, as well as the activities of an environmental, conservational or research content, that have helped to raise the awareness of its visitors over these years. Located on the upper floor of the Access building, the exhibition is divided into five thematic areas under the title “The Mediterranean and its preservation”, “Arctic and Antarctic”; “Sharks”; “Education and Conservation” and “Coral reefs”.