So, here we are at issue ten of The Marine Biologist magazine, proud to have published over 130 original, informative and inspiring articles spanning all aspects of the discipline, written by contributors ranging from world-famous ‘ocean elders’ to volunteers, and scientists at the start of their careers. I am also delighted to add that around 50% of material is written by MBA members themselves, making it very much ‘our’ magazine.
As one of the world’s oldest and most respected marine biological learned societies, the Marine Biological Association has, since 1884, been a clear, independent voice on behalf of the marine biological community. A natural progression for the MBA was to seek recognition of our status through the grant of a Royal Charter. We were successful in this and in 2013, Her Majesty the Queen approved the grant of a Royal Charter to the Marine Biological Association.
Dr Matt Frost drove the application process, during which he examined the whole area of MBA membership and how we could better represent the worldwide community of marine biologists. In 2012, he asked me to lead on the production of a new publication for MBA members. We discussed feasibility: could a relatively small learned society and research organization go it alone and produce a quality magazine? Luckily, the MBA has the foresight and confidence to back a good idea and conversations soon turned to the magazine's remit and practicalities such as editorial policy.
As well as contributing substantially to the MBA's charitable aims, another of the functions of the magazine is to bring articles from the mba's academic journals Journal of The Marine Biological Association and Marine Biodiversity Records to a wider readership.
I hope readers agree that everything we publish in The Marine Biologist magazine is of the highest quality. Notwithstanding, I am going to put my head above the parapet and highlight the articles that really informed and gripped me. And so without further preamble, here is the Editor's top ten:
1. Big, Blue and beautiful by Sylvia Earle and Dan Laffoley
Top of the heap is this scary but at the same time inspiring piece by Sylvia Earle. This article would be here even if Dr Earle was not one of the world’s best-known scientists. Sylvia Earle and Dan Laffoley urge the marine community to reset how we connect people to the ocean through technology (the digital ocean) and the use of hope spots to push forward on marine protection.
2. Oceans of change by Callum Roberts
I was very excited when Callum Roberts agreed to contribute to our very first edition. Some people write with an ability to transport you into a story. As well as being a first-class scientist, Callum Roberts is one such writer: a natural storyteller who weaves many strands into a fascinating story of the history of fishing, and of the changes that humans have brought upon our seas.
3. ‘Marine management’ – making an oxymoron more meaningful by Charles Sheppard
Sustainability is a human issue that requires us in wealthy countries to face uncomfortable truths about inequality and injustice. Charles Sheppard delivers a straight-talking broadside on the catastrophic consequences for the poorest parts of the world of the mismanagement of shallow seas. A provocative call for MPAs to be backed up by marine spatial planning.
4. Evolution of the pelagic ecosystem: a history written in tiny teeth by Elizabeth Sibert
A compact and beautifully written article that not only gives a geological perspective on marine ecosystems, but also tells us a lot about present-day oceans.
5. Secretive sharks of the open ocean by David Sims
This is the story of how an Atlantic-wide science collaboration using the latest tracking technology revealed the overfishing of oceanic sharks, and is providing evidence for high seas protected areas.
Sims, D., (2017, October) Secretive sharks of the open ocean. The Marine Biologist, 9, 6. (Available online October 2018)
6. Dreaming of a digital ocean by Emmanuel G. Reynaud, Eric Röttinger, Aldine R. Amiel, Noan Le Bescot, Luis Gutierrez-Heredia and Peter Flood.
I love the optimism that comes through in this article, the non-destructive approach that the researchers take to all aspects of their research, and the ethos of empowering communities through technology.
7. Two views on a revolution in aquaculture by Doug McCauley, Erin Dillon, Francis Joyce, Ashley Stroud, Benjamin S. Halpern and Hayley Froelich.
I like the format of two views in one article. Compelling arguments from both sides of the aquaculture debate left my head spinning – but in a good way.
8. Fish poo and the climate challenge by Angel Martin
With a title like this, who could fail to read on? Drawing together various studies, Angela Martin summarizes the ways in which marine vertebrates capture and store carbon. Cumulatively, these mechanisms are significant contributors to Article 5 of the Paris agreement (conserve and enhance sinks of greenhouse gases); a clear policy driver to conserve marine ecosystems and enhance fish stocks.
9. Too hot in paradise! by Michael White
Coral bleaching, storms and the near-collapse of a subsistence fishery hit a remote atoll in the Pacific. Resident MBA member Michael White speaks for the isolated communities whose power to manage their own resources is crumbling in the – literally – rising tide of global environmental change. A chilling reminder of our collective responsibility for the state of our planet.
10. Refugia in the twilight zone by Sonia J. Rowley
Original and illuminating, Sonia Rowley’s unique voice comes through in this powerful article. The description of a deep scuba dive is breath-taking.
There are many more great articles and it pains me to stop at ten, but stop I must if I am to remain true to the theme of this blog.
I would love to know which are your favourite articles and the reasons you liked them. You can review many of them online here. Please scroll down to the 'Go to page' list and click page 2. Then a search box will appear at the top of the list with categories to help you search for areas of interest (we are working to fix this functionality issue).
Do contact me if you have other comments about the magazine, and ideas for articles are always welcome.
Guy Baker firstname.lastname@example.org