After almost ten years abroad in one of the most important oceanographic centers of the world and after several years of investigations in polar areas, studying plankton in relation with the “ozone hole”, argentine researchers Walter Helbling and Virginia Villafañe returned in 1996 to settle in the area. Supported by the local community they founded the Estación de Fotobiología Playa Unión. The early investigations focused on studying aquatic productivity, global change and lately the trophic relationships between the lower levels of the aquatic food webs.
EFPU was inaugurated in 1997 together with the Playa Unión Foundation, its back-up for the administration of the resources for its functioning and growth. Apart from its scientific growth, EFPU started administering third-parties projects, signing agreements with different institutions and being a Technology Liaison Unit (TLU), from the National Agency of Technologic and Scientific Promotion and the National Council of Scientific and Technical Research.
Established in a former water-tank, EFPU started with an area of 30 m², with an office and a school exhibition, since, at its beginning, the studies were focused on “in situ” work.
After seventeen years, with the support of different institutions, EFPU has 160 m2 of which 100 m2 are labs and 60 m2 are offices. During this period, EFPU has combined both scientific research and education, attaining an important number of publications and graduated professionals (Ph.Ds., Licentiates, trainees).