Marine Station Ostend | Flanders Marine Institute

Flanders Marine Institute

Platform for marine research

Marine Station Ostend

The Marine Station Ostend (MSO) is a coastal satellite hub available for all Flemish marine scientists. The MSO comprises multifunctional laboratories, provides storage capacity for scientific equipment and has space for public activities. In 2021, the construction of an extension, called Ocean Innovation Space (OIS), has begun. The completion is foreseen in 2022. The OIS will contain additional laboratories and office spaces, as well as increased workspaces.

The current Marine Station Ostend (MSO) is located in four former warehouses at the western side of the “Halve Maan” site at the eastern bank of the Ostend harbor (green dotted lines). The MSO is a satellite hub at sea for all Flemish scientists and is used by a wide variety of scientists, ranging from biologists and geologists to archaeologists. The MSO accommodates many facilities, divided over these four warehouses, each of which have their own functions.

Warehouse 1 contains a climate room, where controlled experiments can take place and a large cold room (100 m²) with seawater tanks, acting as an experimental environment (mesocosm). pH and temperature are controlled in these tanks in order to perform research on fish and other organisms in a semi-natural environment. Warehouse 1 also acts as a storage and processing location for marine archeological heritage.

Warehouse 2 comprises all laboratories

  1. The Biology lab (37 m²), containing (among others) a zooplanktonscanner, a Flow Cam and a flow cytometer.
  2. The DNA lab (33 m²), with an Agilent 2100 Bioanalyzer, a LightCycler 96 and a SpectraMax iD3.
  3. The chemical laboratory (48 m²), including an anorganic carbon analysis device, an alkalinity measuring device and a nutrient analyzer
  4. The microscopy lab, containing a scanning electron microscope, an FT-IR microscope and a fluorescence microscope.

Warehouse 2 is also the place where the material of the scientific diving team is stored and dried.

Warehouse 3 is mainly a working environment, hence the presence of all the technical infrastructure (mainly workspaces), but also an electronics lab is present. Besides this, the ROV is maintained in this warehouse and the RIB Zeekat is located here when not at sea. Through warehouse 3, access to the core repository (70 m²) is assured.

Warehouse 4 acts as a storage location for the majority of the scientific material and currently hosts the marine robotics lab, where AUV Barabas and USV Adhemar are maintained.

Besides the warehouses, two residential buildings and an outdoor place are present. The residential buildings house the offices of the infrastructure department, the marine robotics team and the marine observation centre team. The outdoor place contains (among others) the ROV- and vibrocorer containers as well as several mesocosms, used in the framework of the ESFRI EMBRC program. Additionally, there is ample space for baths, necessary for the desalinization of archaeological heritage.

   Pictures of the Marine Station Ostend

Since 2021, the demolition of the old warehouses at the eastern side of the “Halve Maan” site and the following construction of the Ocean Innovation Space (OIS) has begun (orange dotted line). The OIS will be constructed in 2 phases, where the first phase will encompass the installation of a seawater pipeline and the construction of additional storage and workings spaces. This includes the new marine robotics warehouse (ground floor), several laboratories (first floor) and new office spaces and a large terrace on the upper floor. In phase 2, several storage rooms, an MRC testing facility and a STE(A)M lab will be added to the ground floor, while the first floor will mainly consist of additional laboratories and the upper floor of offices and space for public activities and trainings. The WW2 bunker (yellow dotted line), connecting the MSO and OIS, will be set up as a bio-databank and digital experience space. Together with the old dry dock (blue dotted line), both will be implemented in the design, giving visitors and tourists a hint of the rich history of the site. After renovation, the entire site will mimic a small fisheries village, honoring its maritime heritage.

Old warehouses

Ocean Innovation Space after phase 2 has been completed.

In case of questions regarding scientific installations and use, please contact VLIZ.

If you - as a scientist - make use of the marine scientific infrastructure and equipment made available by VLIZ, please refer to this in your publications, in particular when using the Marine Station Ostend.

How to reach the Marine Station Ostend?

Address: Halve Maan site, Slipwaykaai 2, 8400 Oostende