A bigger Marine Biological Association and a stronger future for marine biology

Posted on May 18, 2018

Glasses were raised at the Citadel Hill laboratory on Plymouth Hoe yesterday evening to celebrate the successful merger of the Continuous Plankton Recorder (CPR) Survey with the Marine Biological Association (MBA).

Staff and guests including the MBA’s governing Council enjoyed the sunshine and looked very much to the future, welcoming new colleagues as two organisations became one. Short talks were given by the MBA’s new Director Prof Willie Wilson, and Professors Patrick Holligan and Michael Whitaker. The speakers emphasised the MBA’s unique position representing an international community of marine biologists through its membership, and how that global reach has been greatly strengthened by the incorporation of the CPR Survey.

Professor Wilson spoke of the grand challenges facing society and the role of the bigger MBA. He said, “The international...

Warming and Inhibition of Salinization at the Ocean’s Surface by Cyanobacteria

Posted on May 17, 2018

A recent study, published in Geophysical Research Letters , has highlighted a fundamental influence on the accuracy of satellite observations of sea surface temperature: surface blooms of the algae Trichodesmium sp.

The paper, whose authors include Kim Bird (PhD student) and Research Fellow Michael Cunliffe of the MBA, describes the biologically controlled warming and inhibition of salinization of surface waters by cyanobacterial surface blooms.

Ms Bird said, “In this study, we describe a new microbiologically driven phenomenon to force "apparent" freshening and warming of the sea surface, which was previously assumed to occur only by precipitation. This has been possible because of the interdisciplinary approach taken, using the combined observations made by our international team of chemical, physical and biological oceanographers during the...

Pirate Weekend at the MBA

Posted on May 10, 2018

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The Marine Biological Association of the UK, Plymouth’s ‘old aquarium’, has been conducting world leading research at its purpose built laboratory on the Hoe (between the Barbican and West Hoe) since 1888. On Saturday 12th May, between 10.30 and 2.30, the MBA’s pirate friends will be opening up the building to all small pirates and their families.

Come and look for sea monsters and the library ghost on guided tours of our historic building (on the hour, every hour), take part in messy science experiments and enjoy children’s craft and fun activities, including the O-limpet games and rope making.

Fathoms Free will also be taking part creating artworks from litter and talking about their work doing ghost gear retrieval’s, dives for debris and beach cleans, and producing kayaks made from marine plastic.

The event is free but...

Professor Willie Wilson will lead the Marine Biological Association forward into its next exciting phase

Posted on Apr 4, 2018

Professor Willie Wilson has been appointed as the new Director of the Marine Biological Association.

Building on his success as Director of the National Center for Marine Algae and Microbiota (NCMA) in the US, then Director of SAHFOS home of the CPR Survey, Prof Wilson has been appointed as Director of MBA. His vision is to ensure the MBA is one of the most widely recognised and respected marine biology organisations in the world. Prof Wilson describes himself as a “virus evangelist”. His research focuses on the diverse roles of marine viruses including algal viruses, giant viruses, coral viruses, persistent virus infections, and the paradox of how viruses are necessary for life.

The appointment happens at a particularly exciting time in our long and illustrious history, as we join forces with The Continuous Plankton Recorder Survey .


Plymouth science institutions merge, promising a stronger future for marine biology

Posted on Apr 4, 2018

The Marine Biological Association and The Continuous Plankton Recorder Survey (CPR Survey) – both internationally renowned for the quality of their science – have joined forces.

The Marine Biological Association (MBA) has incorporated the Continuous Plankton Recorder Survey – previously SAHFOS (the Sir Alister Hardy Foundation for Ocean Science). Both organisations can demonstrate global impact: the MBA was established in 1884 and counts seven Nobel Prize winners among those who have worked there. In 2013 the MBA was awarded a Royal Charter in recognition of its long and eminent history and its status within the field of marine biology. SAHFOS is an international non-profit organisation operating global surveys that measure the ecological health of the ocean using marine plankton. Its international hub is based at the Citadel Hill Laboratory on the Hoe.

As a result of...

Significant increase in marine heatwaves over the past century

Posted on Apr 2, 2018

Marine heatwaves have become longer and more frequent over the last century, a study on long-term changes in marine heatwaves has revealed.

The research shows that annual marine heatwave days have increased by 54 per cent from 1925 to 2016, with an accelerating trend since 1982. “This means a marine ecosystem that used to experience 30 days of extreme heat per year in the early 20th century is now experiencing 45 marine heatwave days per year. That extra exposure time to extreme heat can have detrimental effects on ecosystem health, with impacts on biodiversity as well as economic activities including fisheries and aquaculture.” says lead author of the research Dr Eric Oliver from Dalhousie University, Canada.

Marine heatwaves are defined as prolonged periods of unusually warm water at a particular location . Much like the worrying atmospheric...

Capturing our Coast support Invasive Species Week, 23rd – 29th March 2018

Posted on Apr 1, 2018

Volunteers identifying seashore life at a CoCoast MBA event

Capturing our Coast (CoCoast) is a marine citizen science project run by the Mieszkowska Group here at the MBA, who recently supported the Great Britain Non-Native Species Secretariat (GBNNSS) ‘ Invasive Species week’ by asking the general public to help search for marine invasive species as part of a survey called ‘ Marine Invaders ’.

Although events were held nationally by all of CoCoast’s seven national hubs, the MBA’s team who cover all of the Southwest held various events for volunteers including an invasive species identification evening, a public open evening and two Marine Invaders species searches in Plymouth and Torbay.

On 22 nd March, CoCoast kicked started Invasive Species Week with a specially organised marine invasive species identification evening for their citizen scientists, where training was provided courtesy of...