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María De Los Ángeles Alvariño González; A Great Biologist

From a small town on the coast of Galicia, María De Los Ángeles Alvariño González was in love with the ocean and dedicated her life to research and dissemination of its knowledge. Only Alvario appears in the “Encyclopedia of World Scientists”, a publication that includes the world’s thousand most important scientists.

One of Galicia’s most eminent scientists, oceanographer María De Los Ángeles Alvariño González, passed away ten years ago. In 1993, she received the Silver Medal of the Xunta de Galicia, and in 2005, the University of La Corua dedicated its Week of Science to her.

Despite spending most of her research career outside of her hometown, María De Los Ángeles Alvariño González left a substantial scientific legacy to the Municipal Archives of La Coruña. Several years ago, the Galician scientific community celebrated the fact that thanks to one of her daughters, the ocean that bathes her coast is better known.

A Beginning As An Intern

Maria de Los Angeles Alvario González grew up in Serantes, Ferrol, where she was born on October 3, 1916. She was the daughter of a well-known physician and a pianist. At the age of three, María De Los Ángeles Alvariño González learned to read and her mother taught her music theory and piano lessons.

Ella enjoyed reading, especially the natural history books that her father kept in her library. She studied Science and Letters at the University of Santiago de Compostela, careers that she finished with the works Social Insects and Women in Don Quixote.

In 1936, the outbreak of the Spanish Civil War forced her to return to her hometown in order to continue studying Natural Sciences. It didn’t take her long to learn English, French, and German, and she became interested in the Galician coastline.

In 1934, he went to Madrid to study Natural Sciences, but classrooms were closed due to the Civil War, so he returned to Galicia. It was during this time that he learned French and English, which would be crucial to his future scientific career abroad. Despite the war, María De Los Ángeles Alvariño González continued her studies and graduated in 1941.

Resuming Her Studies

Having taught high school for a few years, she returned to Madrid with her husband, a military sailor stationed there, and joined the Spanish Institute of Oceanography (IEO) as a fellow at the age of 32.

her studies at the Complutense University of Madrid after the conflict ended and the universities were open again. She joined the Spanish Institute of Oceanography (IEO) as a fellow after completing her university studies.

Although they didn’t admit women to their team at the time, the quality of her research made her an exception. In 1952, she began studying zooplankton (small organisms of animal origin that make up marine plankton) at the Vigo Oceanographic Center.

Recognition At The Global Level

María De Los Ángeles Alvariño González’s work on marine fouling in ship hulls, zooplankton, and fisheries was brilliant at the time and did not go unnoticed internationally. A fellowship from the British Council awarded her a position at the Plymouth Laboratory for zooplankton research in 1953, making her the first woman to board a British research ship as a scientist.

It was María De Los Ángeles Alvariño González ‘s work related to marine fouling in ship hulls, zooplankton, and fisheries that stood out at the time and received international recognition.

A British Council fellowship was awarded to her in 1953 to study zooplankton at Plymouth Laboratory. It would be the first time a woman would board a British research vessel as a scientist.

She received a Fulbright Commission grant in 1956 to continue her research at the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution in Massachusetts, in the United States.

Scripps Institution

Under the supervision of expert zooplanctologist Mary Sears, the study was conducted. She found the Galician’s work quite inspiring. She would remain at Scripps Institution of Oceanography in La Jolla, California, until 1970.

“When she arrived at Scripps Institution, I found an ocean of plankton samples to study, and I eagerly and enthusiastically began these studies with the collections we obtained.” María De Los Ángeles Alvariño González recalled in an interview.

Upon completing my doctorate in biology in 1967, I wrote The chaetognaths of the Atlantic, their distribution, and essential notes on systematics. More than thirty species are recreated with detailed illustrations in this work that covers his research from 1952 to 1965.

The Highest Honor In The World

The career of María De Los Ángeles Alvariño González was constantly evolving. She was recognized for her research by the prestigious Southwest Fisheries Science Center (NOAA). Consequently, she was able to conduct various studies on albacores thanks to her position as Research Biologist.

The albacore tuna, commonly known as albacore or albacore tuna, belongs to the tuna family and is a bluefish. She received numerous awards from international institutions such as the University of San Diego, the National Polytechnic Institute of Mexico, the Federal University of Panama, and the National Autonomous University of Mexico, beginning in 1976.

Visiting Professor At The Autonomous University Of Mexico And San Diego

Throughout his career, María De Los Ángeles Alvariño González underwent constant changes. Alejandro Malaspina’s (1789-1794) famous expedition found birds and marine animals in their final study. She has received numerous awards from international institutions since 1976.

She continued working as an emeritus scientist after her retirement in 1987, publishing her findings and participating in expeditions around the world. While working at the Mexican Polytechnic Institute, she also served as an assistant or visiting professor at the Autonomous University of Mexico and San Diego (1979/1984).

With multiple conferences and the publication of the book “Spain and the first oceanic scientific expedition,” she also contributed to publicizing Spain’s scientific past in these last years.

María De Los Ángeles Alvariño González Death

On May 29, 2005, at the time of her death in San Diego (California), she had just completed another manuscript on the study she had undertaken on birds and marine animals during the Malaspina expedition.

Ángeles Alvariño left us as a legacy more than a hundred scientific articles in renowned Spanish, North American, and South American magazines, as well as monographs, book chapters, and a book on the history of Spanish scientific expeditions.

Its impact on the international bibliography translates into an average of about 8.8 citations per year, distributed in different aspects related to the predatory species of plankton and its incidence on fish eggs and larvae.

As a result of his meticulous microscopic analysis of biological samples collected in remote areas such as the Seas of Cortez (Mexico) or South China, he described 22 new planktonic species, two of which are named after him.

Aidanosagitta alvarinoae and Lizzia alvarinoae are chaetognaths and hydromeduses, respectively. Throughout her career, she became an expert in different predatory zooplankton groups, where many species provided valuable information about particular water masses and ocean currents.

A new oceanographic ship commissioned by Angelis Leira Alvario, daughter of the scientist, was launched at the Armon Vigo Shipyard on February 24, 2012.

Final Words

In conclusion, Angelo Alvario has established himself as a leading authority on zooplankton. On Science Day in Galicia, which is celebrated on June 1, the Royal Galician Academy of Sciences has honored her figure.

In a similar fashion, the daughter of the prestigious scientist sponsored the oceanographic vessel bearing her name that launched in 2012. Dedicated to the Spanish Institute of Oceanography, the ship entered service in July of the same year. In addition to Alvario, 15 other researchers are working on discovering the secrets of the ocean.

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