The Ostend Marine Station (MSO) is a research center for both VLIZ scientists and external researchers. The MSO consists of four former warehouses, two office buildings, the Ocean Innovation Space (OIS) and a berth for scientific vessels. The site hosts a number of essential functions for marine scientists in addition to knowledge centers such as the Marine Robotics Center (MRC). In the future, more centers of excellence will have a place in the MSO.
What can marine scientists do at Marine Station Ostend?
- Wet science: several sheds are equipped with a direct supply of seawater. In this way, the great need for experiments with natural seawater can be met.
- Dry science: several hangars are equipped with well-equipped laboratories where scientists can analyze and visualize their samples.
- Space for labs, internships and public outreach. Large multipurpose rooms are available where the general public can learn about marine topics. These spaces are also suitable for knowledge institutions to organize practicals, internships, etc.
- Technical space and storage capacity for both equipment and samples. In addition to an actual biobank and a refrigerated storage area for marine cores, the site also offers the space to store and prepare marine equipment under ideal conditions.
- Office spaces
- Moorings: the extension of mooring facilities in the Fisheries Dock, in front of the MSO, allows the research fleet to moor in front of the institute. It also provides the opportunity to test equipment in protected, yet marine conditions.
Future centers of excellence in the MSO
Coastal Climate Change is an increasingly relevant topic and requires specialized infrastructure. At the site, VLIZ will provide climate chambers and tanks to allow for more research. These structures will be pooled to allow research to run more smoothly.
Ocean Health & Human Health More and more, we are finding that our health is linked to the health of our ocean. Think for example of microplastics, which enter our food chain via the ocean, or the proximity of the sea that has a positive impact on our mental well-being. To better understand these processes, VLIZ is strongly committed to equipment that makes this type of research possible. For example, specialized laboratories are present for micro-plastic research and the site is equipped with equipment that measures the amount of aerosols in the air.
Within the Marine Observation Center (MOC), long-term multidisciplinary observations are carried out using innovative techniques such as imaging sensors, acoustic infrastructure (telemetry, underwater noise) and DNA-based techniques. This infrastructure is widely used for marine biodiversity research and ecosystem studies. Several storage areas, work areas and laboratories (imaging lab, DNA lab) are provided at the site for housing and maintaining the equipment and processing the samples.
For questions about the scientific facility and use of the MSO, contact VLIZ