Research at the HYDRA Institute for Marine Sciences

For guest researchers our HYDRA Field Station offers the possibility to accomplish their project by a combination of field and laboratory work. The period of main activities is between March and October. Principally a year-round research stay is possible, however during the winter months only reduced service is possible.

The HYDRA Field Station is a small field station with excellence in supporting guest researchers with the realisation of shallow-water in-situ projects.

The station has two course rooms which can be modified according to the needs of guest scientists and research groups. Two small laboratories are at your disposal. General laboratory utilities such as glassware or thermometers are ready to use however it is recommended to clarify the availability of needed material and where appropriate to bring it along by yourself. This applies especially to consumables that cannot easily be provided on Elba. Shipping of goods and heavy equipment is possible through the known international courier services (TNT, DHL, UPS, Fedex and others).

We make an effort to get the required samples for non-diving scientists. For diving we are generally using SCUBA on air but also mixed gasses to reach depths down to 90 meters. Furthermore fishermen like to help us by delivering by-catch organisms as well as substrate from depths down to 550 meters. Our standard plankton nets for surface hauls have mesh sizes of 45 µm and 150µm. In a detailed coordination with the project leader we make an effort to solve tricky cases and develop custom-made solutions where needed.

Certified diving scientists are welcome to conduct their own sampling and experiment dives under the common safety rules of recreational SCUBA diving. The dive officer in charge will evaluate the planned underwater research, make a risk assessment and set up an emergency procedure together with the project leader and the divers involved. We are happy to organise boat logistics, dive buddies and additional gear like lifting bags, sampling tools or underwater lamps. Safety is always first. All dives must be coordinated with the dive officer at the scientific dive center.

For the keeping and holding of living marine organisms we daily supply fresh seawater in big tanks, a number of standard glass aquaria and plastic containers of various sizes. For special requirements please communicate in advance. 

The vicinity to the Island of Pianosa, a prison island since ages and now within the National Park of the Tuscan Archipelago, offers the possibility to do research projects in a marine protected area. Geologically Pianosa Island in contrast to Elba Island consists of fossil limestone. After rigid examination we will be glad to submit your research proposal to the National Park authorities to obtain the necessary permit for access and research.