María De Los Angeles Alvariño González Death – Today marks the 105th birthday of Spanish marine biologist María de los Ángeles Alvariño González. She was born in Serantes, Spain, on 3 October 1916 and died at the age of 88 in 2005.Dr Ángeles Alvariño was the first woman appointed as a scientist on any British or Spanish exploration ship.Dr Ángeles Alvariño is most well known as a fishery research biologist who became one of the leading marine scientists researching different types of plankton.During her lifetime she discovered 22 new species of zooplankton and vastly improved our understanding of small marine life. She also published over a hundred books and articles dedicated to science and marine biology.Her parents were father Antonio Alvariño Grimaldos, who was a doctor, and mother Maria del Carmen Gonzales Diaz-Saavedra de Alvariño. It was her father who promoted her interest in science, as she read his zoology books for inspiration. While Alvariño initially wanted to be a doctor like her father, he dissuaded her from pursuing this career path, pushing her towards natural sciences instead.Ángeles Alvariño studied at the University of Santiago de Compostela in northern Spain. She then continued her studies at the University Of Madrid where she chose to pursue natural sciences, graduating in 1941. After completing an MA she then moved to El Ferrol with her new husband Sir Eugenio Leira Manso and taught zoology, biology, botany and geology in the 1940s. She found her passion for zooplankton when she was awarded a fellowship to the Marine Biological Laboratory in Plymouth, England in 1953.She then won a second fellowship to travel to the United States in 1956 to continue her research into zooplankton, becoming a citizen the following year. Her career continued to break boundaries for women in the marine biology field, and Dr Ángeles Alvariño taught the next generation of scientists alongside her own research until she retired in 1987.

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