José Antonio Valverde's efforts to preserve Doñana and found a research institute came into being in January 1965, when the Biological Station of Doñana (EBD) was created by José Ibáñez Martín (the then President of the CSIC) as an institute of Council's research on the study of terrestrial ecology. The scientific activity of the EBD was originally focused on the region of Doñana and its surroundings, soon expanding the field of action to other systems both inside and outside Spain. The Biological Station of Doñana is a Public Research Institute belonging to the Higher Council of Scientific Research, CSIC , within the area of Natural Resources. Our fundamental mission is to carry out multidisciplinary research at the highest level, aimed at understanding, from an evolutionary point of view, the way in which biodiversity is generated, how it is maintained and deteriorated, in addition to the Consequences of its loss and the possibilities of its conservation and restoration. Inherent in all this, the transfer of knowledge to society is also promoted. The Institute is constituted by a main building in Seville and two field stations, the ICTS Biological Reserve of Doñana.
Since January 2009, the Headquarters of Doñana Biological Station is located on Isla de la Cartuja, a technology park built for the 1992 Universal Exposition in Seville. The main building houses the Central Administration, Departments, Laboratories, Library, the Scientific Collection of Vertebrates, different support facilities, etc. It is a new building designed to meet the specific needs of researchers, substantially improving all areas of work of the Institute. In the former headquarters of the EBD, the Pavilion of Peru (Expo Iberoamericana of 1929), a unit is maintained dedicated to the Scientific Culture and Dissemination, whose personnel depend on both the EBD and the Delegation of the CSIC in Andalusia.
The Laboratory of Molecular Ecology is a unit managed by EBD for the use of its scientists and whose main objective is to facilitate, coordinate and finally make possible the execution of research projects involving the use of molecular genetic technologies.The LEM contributes to the realization of such research projects with all necessary infrastructure including well-equipped laboratories, technical support, sequencing services and genotyping of DNA fragments, and the sexual determination of birds through chromosomal markers, and in circumstances Exceptional, technical tasks in support of specific projects. Through these facilities, EBD scientists can execute all genetic analyzes of their projects without having to look outside. These services and facilities have made it possible for many scientists to carry out a large number of research projects since its inception in 1998 and have contributed to increasing the number of projects that can be developed in the EBD for the simple reason that May include molecular analyzes when required. Finally, within our strategic plan 2010-2013 is planned a third service that represents a further degree of development and involves the use of two robots for the automatic extraction of DNA samples and the preparation of PCR fragments for the sequencing and genotyping of Fragments of DNA. These are two laborious activities that require considerable dedication, so with the implementation of this new automatic installation researchers will be allowed to devote more time to other academic tasks, also reducing the margin of error produced by the manual manipulation of a number Large sample.
The LAST-EBD is a central service of the EBD that can be used by staff and whose main mission is to provide access to remote sensing data, digital mapping and the use of GIS programs and techniques by the Staff of the EBD. We provide technical advice on all those GIS tools that can be used in research and management projects that require spatial data. We centralized the access to digital cartography, mainly of Andalusia, but also of other areas of Spain and the world. We also offer help on GIS software and procedures, availability of remote sensing sensors, satellite imagery or aerial photos, and application procedures. Likewise, they manage a remote sensing image bank that contains more than 300 satellite images and aerial photos of the Doñana area. This database also has digital cartography and remote sensing images from other areas of Andalusia and the world. This image bank shows the dynamics of changes in the landscape, vegetation and ecosystem parameters such as hydroperiod, productivity, etc., over the last 30 years. We provide our expertise in the use of GPS, differential GPS, and the use of new technology for recording field data. We have conducted training courses for researchers, students and technical personnel of the EBD in the use of GPS, PDA and software for the recording of data in the field.
Analysis have shown that red, orange and yellow colorings (carotenoid compounds) in birds indicate good health. That is why many birds prefer as a couple, and avoid as competitors, the most colored individuals of their species. Differences in coloration between individuals of the same species therefore constitute very important visual information and these differences can be achieved by choosing the most adequate diet, maintaining a good health, or even applying external pigments as a makeup.
Plants are defended with different toxins whose concentration changes between individuals and populations of the same species, and that caterpillars and mice are able to choose those parts that allow them to grow better.
The nectar of the flowers of a species can change drastically of composition and concentration, and this is because they hide nectarivorous microbes capable of modifying this floral reward.
Doñana is especially known for its marshes and throughout the history of the biological station, many studies have been developed in this habitat. Over the past 40 years special attention has been paid to vertebrate communities, especially in the monitoring of waterfowl. Paradoxically, the EBD has not been able to have an adequate laboratory for the study of aquatic ecology until the founding of the LEA in 2003. This laboratory provides the necessary equipment for a wide variety of studies within the fields of limnology and aquatic ecology. In it we find microscopes, cameras with controlled temperature and light regimes, balances, ovens, portable chemical probes and all the necessary equipment to investigate aquatic ecosystems. The main lines of research that are developed in the LEA include the study of macroinvertebrates, zooplankton, aquatic plants, amphibians, galapagos, waterfowl and limnology. Researches have been conducted on the diet of waterfowl and their role in aquatic ecosystems, especially as seed dispersers and invertebrates. Most of the studies are carried out in the marshes and lagoons of Doñana, but also in other Andalusian wetlands such as the Odiel marshes and the endorheic lagoons of the province of Cadiz. The LEA is also vital to the Doñana natural process monitoring program that is being carried out by the EBD Monitoring Team. It is also available to be used by visiting scientists who come to work in Doñana.
This laboratory is currently in the process of training and its main objective is to support researchers interested in studying physiological parameters of different organisms, from amphibians, reptiles, birds and mammals. The main objective of the laboratory is to provide adequate support to a significant number of ecophysiology studies, mainly in the departments of Evolutionary Ecology, Wetland Ecology and Conservation Biology. They expect to incorporate a number of standard protocols to provide service to researchers in addition to technical support for projects with high workload that can not be assumed by the laboratory staff. The current infrastructure includes basic equipment for ELISA techniques (currently used for the detection of Influenza Virus and antibodies to Nile virus in birds and for the measurement of HSP heat shock proteins) and the interpretation of in vitro measures of humoral response in birds. The laboratory aims to expand its activity with the incorporation of the necessary equipment for the measurement of hormones, hematology, protein characterization and biochemical parameters in blood, taking advantage of the recent occupation of a new workspace. Animal Experimentation Unit: The Animal or Animal Experimentation Unit is a set of facilities for research with living organisms under confinement conditions under a controlled environment and in accordance with the current regulations on the protection of animals used for experimentation and other scientific purposes (RD 53/2013). It consists of three well-defined spaces; One for the confinement of small vertebrates and two for processing samples, performing diagnostic tests and necropsies.