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The Department of Oceanography (DOCE) of the University of Concepcion is part of the Faculty of Natural and Oceanographic Sciences. Founded in 1971, DOCE is committed to the study of the ocean in all its aspects and to the formation of professionals of the highest level in the diverse areas of Ocean Sciences.

In order to achieve these objectives, we conduct a wide variety of basic and applied research aimed at understanding the dynamic and variability of the oceans, integrating biological, chemical, physical and geological aspects.  An important part of our efforts is focused on understanding the relation between human beings and the oceans, through the study of problems such as the diversity of marine populations, the sustainable exploitation of marine resources, the impact on environmental pollution, the effects of global climate change and the use of biotechnology in aquatic systems.  To ensure the formation of new generations of ocean scientists, DOCE maintains a Pre Graduate program in Marine Biology and a Postgraduate Program in Fishery and Oceanography, where students from Chile and other countries recieve an integral education on the different aspects of ocean study.

History of the Department

Its origin goes back to the creation of  the Central Institute of Biology (CIB), founded at the University of Concepcion in 1958, and initially created as the Department of Marine Biology and Oceanography in 1971.

The need to support teaching and research activities led, from the very beginning,  to an important effort in the creation of coastal research stations.  In fact, even before the actual foundation of our department, the Central Institute of  Biology (CIB) established the first station in Caleta Tumbes, in 1961.  At the time, the first research vessel  -the 6 meter long “Kalimán”- started operations in the coastal ocean.  The Tumbes Station was operative until 1973, when the Chilean Navy recuperated the areas occupied by the University to serve other purposes.

In 1972, the first Director of the Department of Marine Biology and Oceanography, Dr. Víctor Ariel Gallardo, initiated the next step in marine exploration at our department with the christening of R/V Lund.   The constant growth of the activities of the department during those years would result in the creation of the career in Marine Biology in 1974, under the Direction of  Dr. Lisandro Chuecas.  Shortly after, in 1978, the Marine Biological Station in Dichato was inagurated by  Professor Marco Retamal.  This Station became the center of teaching and research activities of the department for 32 years.  Our presence in Dichato was interrupted by the devastating earthquake and tsunamis which hit the central coastal region of Chile in February 2010.

In 1980, the restructuring of the CIB at the Faculty of Biological Sciences and Natural Resources, brought about a new Department of Oceanography, which replaced the Department of Marine Biology and Oceanography.

During the eighties, teaching activities continued to expand with the creation of the Master Program in Oceanography in 1985.  Shortly after, in 1987, R/V Kay Kay, a vessel 19 mt. long, replaced R/V Lund.  Over the following twenty years, the operation of Kay Kay I represented an invaluable support for research and teaching activities in the Chilean coast.  In 2007,  Kay Kay I was replaced by Kay Kay II.  As her predecessor the new research vessel was also built at Navco Shipyards, in Valdivia.  This new vessel marked the starting point of a new stage in marine exploration.

The Faculty of Natural and Oceanographic Sciences was created in1993.   The new Faculty brought together the departments of Zoology, Botany and the renamed Department of Oceanography.  That  same year,  the Doctoral Program in Oceanography was created under the Direction of Dr. José Stuardo.  This was possible given the support of international cooperation agencies, particularly DAAD, from Germany.

Another milestone in the strengthening of the activities of the Department occurred in the mid-nineties. In 1996, the Fishery Program, the Masters in Science Program with a Major in Fisheries and the pre graduate career in Marine Biology were created. These efforts in the training of professionals in Ocean Sciences constitute a central focus in the activities of the Department of Oceanography.

Throughout our history, the interaction with agencies as well as national and international institutions has generated basic and applied research projects,as well as the establishment of cooperation programs. This interaction has played a key role in our development. Over the past decades they include research programs such as JGOFS-Chile, FONDAP-Humboldt, the FONDAP COPAS Center, and a number of Fondecyt, INNOVA, FONDEF and FIP projects. Programs funded by private organizations and cooperation programs with UNESCO, the German Agency DAAD, the Fulbright Commission, Fundación Andes, the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation and Wood Hole Oceanographic Institutions have also been carried out.

Para aprender más sobre la gestación y desarrollo de nuestro departamento, los invitamos a leer una reseña del mismo, escrita por el Profesor Emérito Dr. José Stuardo Barría:

We invite you to review the report by Emeritus Professor Dr. José Suardo Barria and learn more about the origin and development of our Department.

History of the Department of Oceanography (in Spanish)