Stazione Zoologica Anton Dohrn

Abstract

The Stazione Zoologica di Napoli (SZN) was founded in 1872 by the German zoologist Anton Dohrn as an independent and international research institute for marine biology. Owing to Dohrn's vision and managerial skill the Naples Station was soon considered the Mecca of zoologists. Darwin defined it ‘a great service’ to Science. The administrative and scientific internationality was based on the table system, that is, the renting out of lab space. With World War I the station ceased to be the private property of Dohrn's son and successor Reinhard. In 1923, the SZN was changed into an Italian semiprivate institution (Ente Morale); in 1982 it became a National Research Institute under the supervision of the Italian Ministry of Instruction, University and Research (MIUR). Its scientific policy changed during the 1990s from guest research to in‐house research programmes, still focussed on interdisciplinary and international research.

Key Concepts:

  • Research institutions are organisms of their own right.

  • The balance between vision and management allows for a sustainable mission.

  • Research institutes are political structures.

  • The Naples Station has maintained its scientific autonomy due to the sustainable vision of its founder.

  • Hospitality at the scientific, theoretical and social level is a key factor to keep an institute alive and competitive.

  • Networking and sharing resources is essential for marine stations.

Keywords: Stazione Zoologica; Anton Dohrn; internationality; Naples experience; hospitality; marine biology

Figure 1.

The Stazione Zoologica Anton Dohrn in 2013. Photo C. Groeben. © C. Groeben.

Figure 2.

Field trip to Helgoland, August 1865. Standing from the left: Anton Dohrn, Richard Greef (1829–1892, Bonn), Ernst Haeckel (1834–1919, Jena); sitting: Matthijs Salverda (1840–1886, Delft), Pietro Marchi (1833‐?, Florence). Reproduced with permission from Stazione Zoologica Anton Dohrn di Napoli – Archivio Storico, Lb.2.1. © Stazione Zoologica Anton Dohrn di Napoli.

Figure 3.

The big laboratory with ‘tables’ (work benches) on two floors and tanks with running seawater (right). With permission of Stazione Zoologica Anton Dohrn di Napoli – Archivio Storico, Lb.6.5.15.

Figure 4.

Fresco room with the library (1877–1958), west side with the wall painting the Departure of the Fishermen (1873) by Hans von Marées. On top of the book shelf on the right, the bust of Carl Ernst von Baer by Adolf Hildebrand (1873). Photo by Cesare Faraglia, Rome, 1907. With permission of Stazione Zoologica Anton Dohrn di Napoli – Archivio Storico, Lb.5.2. © Stazione Zoologica Anton Dohrn di Napoli.

Figure 5.

The Naples Station in 1875. Engraving. With permission of Stazione Zoologica Anton Dohrn di Napoli – Archivio Storico, Lb.4.5.

Figure 6.

The 5 t steam launch ‘Johannes Müller’ (1877), approximately 1884. Reproduced with permission from Stazione Zoologica Anton Dohrn di Napoli – Archivio Storico, La.125.12. © Stazione Zoologica Anton Dohrn di Napoli.

Figure 7.

Salvatore Lo Bianco (1860–1910), head of the Preservation Department at the Stazione Zoologica, 1889. Reproduced with permission from Stazione Zoologica Anton Dohrn di Napoli – Archivio Storico, La.119.37. © Stazione Zoologica Anton Dohrn di Napoli.

Figure 8.

Villa Nazionale – Stazione Zoologica. The Zoological Station between 1888 and 1902. Postcard (E. Ragozino, Napoli) sent on 31 October 1903. Reproduced with permission from Stazione Zoologica Anton Dohrn di Napoli – Archivio Storico, Lb.4.51. © Stazione Zoologica Anton Dohrn di Napoli.

Figure 9.

The Zoological Station after 1906 with the main entrance to the courtyard under balcony and the east wing on the right. Photo Franz Thorbecke. Reproduced with permission from Stazione Zoologica Anton Dohrn di Napoli – Archivio Storico, Lb.4.56. © Stazione Zoologica Anton Dohrn di Napoli.

Figure 10.

Anton Dohrn (1840–1910), founder and director of the Naples Station in 1898. Reproduced with permission from Stazione Zoologica Anton Dohrn di Napoli – Archivio Storico, Lb.2.4. © Stazione Zoologica Anton Dohrn di Napoli.

Figure 11.

Guest investigators at the Naples Station between 1873 and 1915; a total of 2345 research visits split up by nationality.

Figure 12.

Reinhard Dohrn (1880–1962) in his office in the 1930s. Collection C. Groeben. © C. Groeben.

Figure 13.

Francesco Saverio Monticelli (1863–1925), Italian Zoologist. Pierantoni, , frontispiece. Collection C. Groeben. © C. Groeben.

Figure 14.

Sybilla von Haeften, Frontispiece of the Ischia Guest Book, 1933. Collection C. Groeben. © C. Groeben.

Figure 15.

Villa Dohrn, built in 1906 by Carl Sattler, at the entrance to the harbour of the island of Ischia in the Gulf of Naples, today Laboratory of Benthic Ecology. Postcard from the 1930s. Collection C. Groeben. © C. Groeben.

Figure 16.

The Naples Station after 1960 with the new library above the arch, between the first central building and the second building (left). Reproduced with permission from Stazione Zoologica Anton Dohrn di Napoli – Archivio Storico, Lb.4.66. © Stazione Zoologica Anton Dohrn di Napoli.

Figure 17.

Alberto Monroy (1915–1986), Italian embryologist, director of the Stazione Zoologica (1976–1980), approximately 1970. Reproduced with permission from Stazione Zoologica Anton Dohrn di Napoli – Archivio Storico, Lb.1.M. © Stazione Zoologica Anton Dohrn di Napoli.

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Further Reading

Boveri M (1977) Verzweigungen. Eine Autobiographie, herausgegeben von Uwe Johnson. München/Zürich: Piper.

Dohrn K (1983) Von Bürgern und Weltbürgern: Eine Familiengeschichte. Pfullingen: Neske.

Fisher J‐L (1980) L'aspect social et politique des relations épistolaires entre quelques savants français et la Station zoologique de Naples de 1878 à 1912. Revue d'Histoire des Sciences 33: 225–251.

Florey E (1985) The Zoological Station at Naples and the neuron: personalities and encounters in a unique institution. Biological Bulletin 168: 137–152.

Fokin SI and Groeben C (eds) (2008) Russian Scientists at the Naples Zoological Station 1874‐1934. Napoli: Giannini Editore.

Matacena G (1996) La riscoperta del golfo incantato. Il reportage di un biologo della Stazione Zoologica ‘Anton Dohrn’. Napoli: Electa.

Nunn EA (1883) The Naples Zoological Station. Science 1: 479–481, 507–510.

Stazione Zoologica Anton Dohrn www.szn.it

Ritter Santini L and Groeben C (eds) (2008) Art as Autobiography. Hans von Marées. Napoli: Gaetano Macchiaroli Editore.

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Groeben, Christiane(Sep 2013) Stazione Zoologica Anton Dohrn. In: eLS. John Wiley & Sons Ltd, Chichester. http://www.els.net [doi: 10.1002/9780470015902.a0024932]