What have marine microbes ever done for us?

Posted on Jul 26, 2017

Dr Michael Cunliffe, MBA Research Fellow

What have marine microbes ever done for us? MBA Resarch Fellow Dr Michael Cunliffe puts in a word for the small things in this fascinating interview .

Visit Dr Cunliffe's web pages .


A new review on the roles of vitamins in phytoplankton nutrition

Posted on Jul 21, 2017

MBA researcher Dr Katherine Helliwell has published a new review examining how and why many important species of marine phytoplankton need vitamins in order to survive. Vitamins often act as co-factors for essential metabolic pathways, although many algae are unable to synthesise their own vitamins and must obtain them from neighbouring organisms in their environment. Vitamin nutrition therefore appears to play an important role in marine ecosystems and underpins a complex network of interactions between phytoplankton and certain types of marine bacteria that we are only just beginning to understand. The full article can be accessed by following the link below.

The roles of B vitamins in phytoplankton nutrition: new perspectives and prospects

Katherine E. Helliwell

New Phytologist DOI: 10.1111/nph.14669

Inside the genome of the common red seaweed Porphyra

Posted on Jul 20, 2017

A red seaweed of the genus Porphyra

Porphyra is a common red seaweed found in the intertidal zone throughout the world. In addition to its important role in coastal ecosystems, Porphyra and the closely related genus Pyropia are important food crops in parts of the world (e.g. laver, nori). MBA researchers have been involved in analysing the genome sequence of Porphyra umbilicalis as part of an international consortium aiming to understand more about this seaweed and the evolution of the red algae. The research, led by Prof Susan Brawley (University of Maine), demonstrates that Porphyra contains many unique features that allow it to survive in the intertidal zone. In particular, the MBA team identified that the mechanisms used by Porphyra to sense its environment are unique to red algae and appear to differ considerably from those in the green algae. The results therefore not only tell us more about the ecology and...

Will a non-native macroalgae change our kelp forests?

Posted on Jul 19, 2017

Native kelps are important habitats for marine wildlife
Native kelps are important habitats for marine wildlife.

A new paper published by a group of researchers at the MBA considers the interactions between native macroalgal canopies and the non-native kelp Undaria pinnatifida (Wakame). A mixture of field surveys and manipulations on the rocky reefs of Plymouth Sound indicated that the spread of Undaria is inhibited by the presence of native competitors, particularly large perennial species ( Laminaria spp.). However, the non-native could still be found within dense native canopies, suggesting that disturbance to, or the absence of, canopies is not a prerequisite for Undaria colonisation. The authors conclude that Undaria is now a conspicuous and widespread component of the flora of Plymouth Sound. However, it is unlikely to cause major ecological changes as long as environmental conditions remain favourable for long-lived native species. See below for the full reference and a link to the...

The Beach Rangers are back!

Posted on Jul 6, 2017

Beach Rangers at Kinterbury Creek

The Beach Rangers are back: join us for marine adventures this summer!

Beach Rangers run free family-friendly events on Plymouth’s beautiful shores. Join us on Wednesdays at Teat’s Hill and Thursdays at Kinterbury Creek from 11am-3pm throughout August. There is no need to book. Just turn up and get involved!

Plymouth Sound is home to many curious and wonderful creatures and its importance for marine wildlife is internationally recognized. Beach Rangers will help you discover these wonders and there will be plenty of fun along the way!

Activities will include rock pooling, arts and crafts, games and much more. You can get creative, learn why the sea is so important to people, whilst also helping gather information on our Crab Watch citizen science project.

Beach Rangers events are run In partnership...

Crab Watchers Wanted! New Citizen Science Project to Monitor Crab Species

Posted on Jul 5, 2017

Young people participating in Crab Watch
Young people participating in Crab Watch, Spain

Crab Watchers Wanted! New Citizen Science Project to Monitor Crab Species

How does finding a crab on the beach make you feel? Excited? Wary? Fascinated? By joining Crab Watch, a new citizen science project taking place across Europe, your search for these captivating creatures will have the added incentive of contributing to scientific research. Crab Watch invites citizens across Europe to play a key role in the scientific process by gathering valuable data to enhance our knowledge of the changing distribution of native and non-native crabs. By establishing a network of Crab Watchers to record and report crab distribution, it is hoped that new arrivals will be detected early and appropriate environmental management action can then be taken quickly.

You can find everything you need to become a Crab Watcher, including the Crab App (coming soon), on the Sea Change...

OSPAR launches its 2017 Intermediate Assessment

Posted on Jun 29, 2017

OSPAR intermediate assessment

OSPAR's Intermediate Assessment 2017 was launched yesterday.

This assessment, covering both status and trends across the North-East Atlantic, presents a picture of this important marine area and includes consideration of biological diversity, eutrophication, hazardous substances, radioactive substances, offshore oil and gas industries, a range of other human pressures, ocean acidification and the impact of a changing ocean climate. Attention is given to socio-economic analysis and the methodology required to undertake a full ecosystem assessment. Finally, the IA 2017 presents key messages and headline information that will set the foundation for progress and development.

See the key messages and highlights