The marine environment after Brexit: the future for science and policy

Posted on Nov 9, 2017

The MBA and British Ecological Society (BES) ran a major conference on 31 October looking at the post-Brexit landscape for science and policy.

The event aimed to:

Identify the key challenges and opportunities for marine environmental policy in the UK after Brexit; Highlight the role of marine biological and ecological science in addressing these challenges, including existing knowledge and future research needs; Identify the priorities for enhancing the UK’s status as a world leader in marine science and maintain effective international collaboration.

The outputs of the event will inform the development of a joint British Ecological Society and Marine Biological Association policy brief

Jill Barrett , an expert in international law, set the scene with a presentation on the effect of Brexit on the UK’s international law obligations relating to the marine...

The mysterious nocturnal migrations of skates

Posted on Nov 8, 2017

A blonde ray Raja brachyura

MBA scientists have shown for the first time how skates make night-time forays into shallower water. This unique window on the fine details of fish behaviour was made possible by data from electronic tagging, and may influence the management of these vulnerable species.

The skate species in the study were blonde ray ( Raja brachyura ), thornback ray ( R. clavata ), small-eyed ray ( R. microocellata ) and spotted ray ( R. montagui ). MBA researchers analyzed the data from 89 tags from recaptured skates. Combining the results with their knowledge of skate ecology, a credible picture of previously unknown migratory behaviour emerged in which skates move across a varied seabed topography, searching and foraging for food along the way.

The exact reasons for these journeys remain a mystery but the study rules out some explanations, for...

Spillover of invasive kelp from marinas to natural reef

Posted on Nov 2, 2017


A detailed survey of marinas and rocky shores in south Devon and Cornwall have identified a link between populations of invasive seaweeds. Under certain conditions it seems that marinas facilitate the spread of the invasive kelp Wakame into natural rocky coastlines.

Wakame, or Undaria pinnatifida , is a non-native kelp that has been present in the UK since 1994. It is predominantly found in marinas or harbours, growing on man-made structures such as floating pontoons. Using a mixture of pontoon surveys, snorkelling and video techniques, Wakame was found at all marinas surveyed, but in only around half of the natural coastal sites.

Wakame was more likely to be found growing on natural coastlines when the site was close to a marina with a high abundance of the invader. Locations with larger areas of pontoons were also more likely to contain natural reef sites...

Dr Matt Frost appointed Interim MBA Director

Posted on Nov 1, 2017

Dr Matt Frost, MBA Interim Director

The MBA is pleased to announce that Dr Matt Frost has been appointed Interim MBA Director from 1 November 2017. Dr Frost will continue in this role until a new MBA Director is appointed. He will assume the duties of MBA Director since Professor Colin Brownlee is stepping out of this role after 10 years to return to full-time research.

In addition to his new role as interim Director, Matt is in charge of Policy and Knowledge Exchange, with particular responsibility for the Association as a national and international Learned Society/Membership organisation. He also works on areas of MBA strategic development and governance.

Dr Matt Frost 1.JPG

Matt has a degree and PhD in marine benthic ecology but has since focused on marine policy; providing science to policy training; lecturing on postgraduate courses; chairing science-policy committees; and...

MBA contributes further to increasing Ocean Literacy in Europe

Posted on Oct 24, 2017

To celebrate the Year of Science, UK-German Connection , in collaboration with the British Council , organised a ‘Sea and Oceans’ Youth Seminar; a three-day event to discuss current issues and challenges facing our environment, seas and oceans. On the 20-22 October 2017, the MBA joined this initiative and 50 British and German 16-19 year-olds in Hamburg, Germany, for a hands-on, informative seminar on litter, rising sea levels, biodiversity and ocean literacy.

This group of 50 young people travelled far and wide from across the two countries, and were brought together by a strong interest in the theme 'seas and oceans' and in discussing the topic with UK and German peers.

During the second day of the seminar, the MBA team introduced the group to the concept of ocean literacy, including the 7 Ocean Literacy Principles. Additionally, seminar...

MBA student wins prize at International Nannoplankton Association meeting

Posted on Oct 17, 2017

Charlotte Walker

Charlotte Walker, a PhD student based at the MBA as part of the SPITFIRE doctoral training partnership, has been awarded the prize for best student presentation at the 16th International Nannoplankton Association Meeting in Athens, Greece. The International Nannoplankton Association represents an association of scientists interested in the biology and geology of mineralised phytoplankton. These tiny algae are surrounded by mineralised plates or scales that are often preserved as fossils, providing important insight into the impact of past climatic events on our oceans. Charlotte presented research findings from her PhD examining the cellular mechanisms of calcification in coccolithophores.

Invitation to MBA members: lecture and Annual General Meeting

Posted on Oct 17, 2017

MBA Coat of Arms

Dear Member,

RE: Talk, Annual General Meeting & Council Tea

On Thursday 16 th November 2017 there will be Lectures, followed by the Annual General Meeting of the Association and Council Tea, and you are cordially invited to these events at the MBA Citadel Hill Laboratory in Plymouth . The programme is as follows:

2 – 2.15 pm

Brief presentation given by MBA’s Dr Keith Hiscock entitled: ‘Celebrating Britain’s Hidden World’

“What do you think is out there?” is a question that I often ask bystanders as I get ready to go diving in Plymouth Sound. Usually, their answer is something like “it’s just mud isn’t it?”. Show them pictures of forests of sea fans or walls of jewel anemones and ask “where do you think these...