Maria de Los Angeles Alvarino González was a Spanish marine biologist and oceanographer. A pioneer in plankton biology, she was the first woman to work on any Spanish or British exploration ship. Her work was influential to scientists worldwide and she was the first woman to gain this status. However, the tragic death of this doctoral candidate has cast a shadow over her legacy.
Dr. Angeles Alvarino Gonzalez was a marine biologist
A marine biologist Dr. Angeles Alvarino Gonzalez was a well-respected researcher in the field of marine biology. She discovered 22 new species of zooplankton and made significant contributions to the understanding of marine life in general. In addition to her scientific contributions, Alvarino published over 100 books on science. Alvarion’s father was a physician and her passion for science began when she was a child. As a child, she read zoology books and was discouraged from going into medicine by her father. Fortunately, she pursued her interest in marine biology and later won a fellowship at the University of Plymouth to study the ocean environment.
Born in Madrid in 1916, Alvarino’s interest in natural sciences grew at an early age. While studying in Spain, she read her father’s books on zoology and biology. Her parents discouraged her from going into medicine because of the danger of working with incurable diseases. In spite of the pressures of her parents, she was determined to study the field and earn a doctoral degree.
Born in Spain, Dr. Angeles Alvarino Gonzalez began her career as a scientist at a young age. She conducted research that became the basis for a new field of science. Her work resulted in the discovery of fifty new species of zooplankton. In addition to studying the world’s oceans, Alvaro Gonzalez also helped develop numerous technological advances, including the ballpoint pen.
The first of her two fellowships in the United States came in 1956, and she became a citizen in 1957. During her second fellowship, she worked to break down gender barriers in marine biology, and she also taught students how to become scientists. After retirement in 1987, she died of a rare form of cancer, leiomyosarcoma, which affects the soft muscle tissues of the body.
She was a zooplankton researcher
The UCSD graduate studied the plankton in the English Channel and the Bay of Biscay and discovered new species. In the 1950s, she returned to Spain and continued her studies, designing special nets and enlisting fishermen. She analyzed the distribution of zooplankton in the Mediterranean, Atlantic, and Indian oceans, and was the first woman scientist on board a British research ship.
She became interested in the natural sciences during her undergraduate studies at the University of Santiago de Compostela. Later, she studied zooplankton in the United States. She discovered 22 new species and developed a model for plankton distribution. While studying, she also taught at several US universities. She died on May 29, 2005, in San Diego, California.
In the 1940s
In the 1940s, Maria de Los Angeles Alvarino Gonzalez married Eugenio Leira Manso, a naval captain, and knight of the Royal and Military Order of Saint Hermenegild. The couple had one daughter, Angeles, in 1942. She also taught at Ferrol University for many years. She also worked as an artist and taught biology and geology at universities in Spain.
Her passion for studying sea life led her to study the tiny organic entities or zooplankton, and then to a Ph.D. at the University of Madrid in 1967. She continued to study plankton as a lab assistant and received a British Council fellowship to investigate the Zooplankton at Plymouth laboratory. She then toured Europe and worked with scientists from several other countries.
A pioneering Spanish marine scientist, Maria de Los Angeles Alvarino Gonzalez is honored with a Google doodle on October 3, 2021. She discovered 22 new species of zooplankton, improved the understanding of marine life, and published more than 100 books on the subject. She was the daughter of a doctor, but her mother had discouraged her from pursuing a medical career. Despite her father’s disapproval, she forged her own path and became the first female scientist aboard Spanish and British exploration ships.
She died from Leiomyosarcoma
The cause of death for Maria de Los Angeles Alvarino Gonzalez is Leiomyosarcoma. This type of cancer develops in smooth muscles and spreads throughout the body, including to the liver, lungs, and other soft tissues. It usually starts in the uterus but can spread to other parts of the body, including the blood vessels. Leiomyosarcomas represent five to ten percent of all soft tissue sarcomas.
Before she was diagnosed with cancer, Maria de Los Angeles Alvarino Gonzalez was a respected researcher, discovering 22 new species of zooplankton and publishing more than a hundred scientific papers. After retiring from active research in 1987, she taught at US universities and served as an emeritus scientist. She died of Leiomyosarcoma in 2005 at the age of 88.
During her short life, Maria de Los Angeles Alvarino Gonzalez lived a full and rewarding life. She married Eugenio Leira Manso in 1940 and had their first daughter, Angeles, in 1942. Alvarion’s first husband was a captain in the Spanish navy and a Knight of the Royal and Military Order of San Hermenegildo. The couple lives in the United States.
After graduating from the University of Santiago de Compostela in 1936, Alvarno attended college in Madrid. The Spanish Civil War interrupted her education in Madrid. She spent this time learning French and English, which were useful in her studies abroad. After the war, she returned to Ferrol and began studying the languages there. After graduation, she completed her master’s degree and began teaching biology in the U.S.
She was a doctoral candidate
In 1951, Maria de Los Angeles Alvarino Gonzalez was nominated for a doctorate in oceanography. She studied the plankton of the English Channel and Bay of Biscay. Her research on the spread of plankton species made it clear that the Atlantic had been shifting poleward. Alvaro became the first woman to join a British research vessel. Her research eventually led to her becoming an official student and earning her Doctorate in 1951.
Her research on plankton was conducted under the guidance of a group of scientists including Dr. Roger Revelle and Dr. Mary Sears. The group worked together on zooplankton and she was later recommended to Dr. Roger Revelle of the Scripps Institution of Oceanography. Alvarion’s research at the Scripps Institution of Oceanography helped scientists better understand the plankton that inhabits the oceans.
After receiving her doctorate, Maria de Los Angeles Alvarino Gonzalez worked for different institutions. She received awards from the U.S. Office of the Navy, the California Cooperative Oceanic Fisheries Investigations, and the US National Science Foundation. Her career continued to flourish after retirement as a senior scientist. She died of cancer at the age of 88. Aside from her groundbreaking work, Alvarino also taught future generations of scientists. Click here to read more articles.
After graduating from high school, Alvarino began her college studies at a local university in Madrid. During this time, the Spanish Civil War interrupted her formal education. During this period, Alvarno learned English and French and avoided language barriers while studying abroad. After the war, she continued her studies at the Complutense University in Madrid. She eventually earned her doctorate in the same subject.
She was married
Born in Serantes, Ferrol, Spain, Maria de Los Angeles Alvarino Gonzalez was the daughter of a doctor and a piano teacher. She had a keen interest in nature and studied both literature and science at the University of Santiago de Compostela. After graduating, she moved to Madrid where she continued her studies in the Natural Sciences. Maria died in 2005 at the age of 88.
Alvaro was married in 1954. Maria de Los Angeles Alvarino Gonzalez was awarded a Ph.D. in oceanography from the University of Madrid in 1967. Throughout her career, she had already gained much international recognition. She worked for the US Office of the Navy, the California Cooperative Oceanic Fisheries Investigations, and the US National Science Foundation. In 1993, she received a British Council fellowship to research Zooplankton at the Plymouth Laboratory.
Alvarion’s studies led her to focus on the natural sciences, particularly biology. She studied zoology and became interested in natural sciences as a child. Her father discouraged her from becoming a doctor since he wanted to spare his daughter from having to deal with incurable diseases. However, she was steadfast in her goal of becoming a physician. And while her marriage gave her much more happiness, it also gave her the opportunity to travel widely.
After her marriage, Angeles Alvarino continued to research the seagoing ships hosted by different countries. She devoted her last years to studying the origins of scientific discovery and furthering her studies. In particular, she focused on early Spanish navigators and explorers. As a result of her research, she published an account of the Malaspina Voyage that sailed over the western Atlantic and Pacific Oceans in the late 1700s.