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Professor Krzysztof Skóra: Patron of Gdańsk University’s Marine Station in Hel
On Thursday 31 March 2016, the Senate of the University of Gdańsk named the Institute of Oceanography’s Marine Station in Hel after Professor Krzysztof Skóra, who founded and led the centre for many years.
Professor Krzysztof Skóra’s whole professional life is linked to the Marine Station in Hel. Between 1977 and 1992 he transformed the derelict building of a former fish smokery into a modern and dynamic centre. Over the years it gained laboratories, night quarters and a sealarium – the station’s trademark and a place visited by about half a million people annually. The station is the only one of its kind in Poland and is also known abroad. The station’s research issues are concentrated mostly on the biology of the aquatic mammals of the Baltic, the biology and ecology of the fish of the Baltic coast, the conservation of rare Baltic species and biotopes and the biology and ecology of Antarctic fish. The station also hosts classes for Polish and foreign universities. Work is currently underway on the project Edu Eco Hel, which is to be a centre for student education and the popularisation of the latest achievements in maritime research, general knowledge about the sea and the concept of sustainable development. The station is being expanded as part of the ‘Błękitna Wioska/Blue Village’ project which aims to create in Hel the infrastructure suitable for wider didactic and academic activity.
Professor Krzysztof Skóra (born 1950 in Gdynia) was linked to the University of Gdańsk through his education and professional life from the outset. It was here that he gained all his degrees and titles –a Master’s degree in Biological Oceanography (1973); a doctorate of Natural Sciences in Oceanology (1985); a habilitation in Earth Sciences (Oceanology, 2004) and in 2014 the President of the Republic of Poland awarded him the title of Professor of Earth Sciences. His professional life began with the post of scientific-technical assistant in the University of Gdańsk’s Institute of Oceanography in 1973. It was in this institute that he attained all the stages in his academic career, including that of Full Professor. In 1977 he assumed the role of organiser and director of the Institute of Oceanography’s field centre, the Maritime Field Laboratory in Hel, which he and his team later turned into the Marine Station, officially opened in 1992.
Professor Skóra was the author or co-author of approximately 100 academic publications. He was a member of many academic associations, councils and committees, including the Polish National Council for Nature Conservation or the Polish Academy of Sciences’ Committee on Nature Conservation. He worked with many government institutions and non-government organisations. He was also very active in the spreading of knowledge about the conservation of the maritime environment. For his academic, teaching and organisational work he received nearly 30 awards, including the prestigious Swedish Baltic Sea Water Award ( the so-called Baltic Nobel).
Professor Krzysztof Skóra died on 12th February 2016.