Plentzia Marine Station (EHU)

Plentzia Marine Station (EHU)

Research Infrastructure affiliation: EMBRC

Location: Plentzia, Basque Country, Spain

Website address:

Local Access Officer: Dr. Ibon Cancio (



Plentzia Marine Station (EHU) at Plentzia beach is connected with Bilbao by Metro, at 15 min driving distance from Airport. Complementary scientific services with hi-tech equipment and specific expertises; are accessible in the main Campus of Leioa of the University of the Basque Country, at 15 min driving from EHU. EHU opened in July 2012 and hosts 1800 visitor-days per year (2014-2015). Research at EHU focuses on cell biology, molecular biology, functional genomics, experimental physiology, toxicology, pathology, stress biology and global change; and on applying advanced manipulation and experimentation with marine organisms, in vitro assays, genomics, proteomics, cryotechnology, spectroscopy and microscopy. It is aimed to develop tools for marine biomonitoring, ecosystem health assessment (biomarkers, bioassays, biosensors & biodiversity) and seafood quality/safety assurance. Model organisms: microalgae, bivalve molluscs, gastropods, polychaetes, sea urchins & fish. EHU research services are structured in: Experimental wet-labs and/or research platforms; access to Ecosystems; access to Biospecimen Bank samples (remote access).


Experimental wet-labs and/or research platforms: Experimentation with marine organisms in controlled experimental wet-lab conditions (precisely controlled: T, photoperiod, O2) in a metal-free environment and in tank volumes between 1 & 2,000 L. Set up for analysis of organisms exposed to stressors. 2 exterior 20,000 L mesocosms. Zebrafish facility. Eco-toxicological bioassays or bioassays for antifouling compounds with in vitro and whole organism toxicity/response tests.

Research platforms include: advanced quantitative microscopy, molecular biology, biochemistry, microbiology and cell culture labs. High throughput and automatic histological sample preparation service is offered, including cryopreparation, with downstream automatic slide staining, slide scanning and image storing capacity.

Ecosystems: EHU provides access to intertidal rocky/sandy shores, mudflats and estuaries, under historical anthropic pressure. Facilities: a 4 m rigid hulled inflatable boat, 4x4 vehicle, fully equipped mobile laboratory, sampling equipment. A microalgae culture collection.

Biospecimen Bank samples (remote access): A unique selling-point of EHU is its Biscay Bay Environmental Biospecimen Bank (BBEBB), with samples (frozen tissues, DNA, RNA, paraffin blocks, mussel shells & histology slides) of animals collected in the Biscay Bay over the last 20 years, The BBEBB platform constitutes also a facility for research on environmental biospecimen (cryo)-banking.


Users wishing to work independently will have access to 2 dedicated polyvalent TA-labs with standard equipment; and space for own instrumentation. Duration of typical TA-visits: 1-4 weeks, with 1 to 2 users per project. Remote access comprises sending biological material for analysis or receiving samples for storage in the BBEBB. Includes special courier delivery. Unit costs of access: to marine experimental wet-labs or platforms per; to ecosystem access person ½ day; to BBEBB resources per project-access to archive (typically 25 cryo-vials or 10 microscopy slides=one entry into or one exit from archive).

Support offered

TA-users will have access to social, office and lab-space, to standard disposables and administrative/logistic support besides the services listed above. Users will have access to all equipment in the building under expert supervision. Users will receive internet access upon their arrival & basic training on security. User-access contracts will establish the conditions of the access to EHU and will reflect the extra specific “research” services (special reagents, specialised technical/expert assistance) not covered by the TA, in the same conditions as in house scientists. Service staff will provide technical support and training in the use of the platforms where. Administration will assist with travel arrangements.