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The Hydrobiological Station was set up in 1940 in the north-eastern quadrant of the island of San Domenico. In 1942, during World War II, the University of Padova (at the time the Institute of Zoology, which merged with the Department of Biology in 1984) was granted free, perpetual use of the Hydrobiological Station, thanks to the foresight and perseverance of Prof. Umberto D'Ancona. Here, D'Ancona carried out pioneering research on the ecosystems of the Venetian Lagoon and northern Adriatic sea, the natural stocks of commercial valuable species, and the reproductive biology of several teleost species. Profs. Bruno Battaglia, Armando Sabbadin and Riccardo Brunetti are among the many researchers who succeeded D'Ancona in the management of the laboratory. Together with their colleagues in Padova, they promoted, even during hard times for research, the knowledge of the biology and ecology of lagoon and marine species, the protection and management of natural populations, and the breeding and farming of new fish species.
On February the 5th 2011 the research station was officially named after Professor D'Ancona, being its founder and one of the most influential Naturalists of the twentieth century.
The larger (450 m2) of the two buildings, making up the Hydrobiologic Laboratory, has always been used for research work; while the other (250 m2), in the past home of the caretaker, is currently a practical guesthouse, accommodating up to 10 persons. Visiting scientists and external collaborators should contact technicians of the Hydrobiologic Laboratory.
The Hydrobiologic Laboratory is an integral part of the Department of Biology of the University of Padova and its supervisor is Dr. Carlotta Mazzoldi.