The Citadel Hill laboratory in Plymouth is a unique location offering a range of facilities supporting wide range of marine biological sciences. The Web pages provide some detail on the major facilities but for more information please contact us.
The MBA has a state of the art seawater, animal holding and experimental facility that was established through a capital equipment grant from The Wellcome Trust in 1998. There is a direct pumped seawater supply from Plymouth Sound into two large reservoirs that feed the seawater circulation systems. The seawater system comprises a semi-recirculated system for holding and husbandry and a research circulation with modern filter and UV purification.
There is a wide range of tanks for vertebrate and invertebrate husbandry and experimentation
The MBA houses a seawater aquaria facility for marine biological research that complies with Home Office standards. The specialist facility comprises two large semi-recirculating systems supplied by natural seawater via a permanent pipeline from Plymouth Sound. The capacity of the combined systems for high-quality seawater is 477,000 litres, with a combined underground reservoir space of 724 m3. The system for holding experimental organisms remains unfiltered natural seawater (332,000 L), whereas the experimental system is temperature-controlled with physical (sand), protein skimming and UV filtration (145,000 L).
The scientific areas supported by the systems all have piped filtered and unfiltered seawater and fall into three main categories:
(1) The Seawater Hall itself covers 492 m2 and houses over 30 large holding tanks (ranging from 1 x 1 to 2 x 1 m), 6 tidal tanks and several large wet benches fitted in an open-plan arrangement. The wet benches can be used for replicated experimental work where high numbers of small-volume aquaria are needed.
(2) Three separate rooms within the Seawater Hall are used for experimental work and house 10 large tanks (ranging from 2 x 1 m up to 4 x 2 m). These rooms are fitted with temperature and photoperiod control and state-of-the-art computer-linked video observation of tanks for behavioural studies. There is also space devoted to close-culture tanks for breeding studies and supply of embryonic dogfish and cuttlefish.
(2) Three constant temperature (CT) rooms cover a combined area of 40 m2 and are also fitted with photoperiod control. Wet benches connected to the re-circulating supply with flexible small-tank space for close-controlled research make up the seawater facilties within each of these rooms.
The Marine Biological Association works with the Plymouth Marine Laboratory in operating two robust and versatile MCA Workboat research vessels, the Plymouth Quest and the MBA Sepia. The vessels undertake biological, chemical and physical sampling, trawling, hauling, dredging, towing, equipment deployment and oceanographic measurements.
The Plymouth Quest measures 21.5m in length and has an operational area of up to 60 miles from a safe haven. The Quest is capable of carrying up to 12 passengers for day work and has a cruise endurance of up to five days.
The MBA Sepia measures 15.4m in length, also with an operational area of up to 60 miles from a safe haven. Like the Plymouth Quest, the Sepia can accommodate 12 passengers and offers a spacious laboratory.
The MBA also has a smaller dory (Sagitta) for estuarine and river sampling.
For more information on any of the vessels and our work please contact Rachel Brittain
The lab is generously equipped for live cell imaging, with the following microscopy facilities:
A comprehensive range of patch clamp, voltage clamp (single and 2-electrode) recording apparatus is available for use with bright field, fluorescence and confocal microscopy. Facilities are also available for single cell microinjection and laser microsurgery. There is also a Xenopus holding and oocyte microinjection and recording facility for heterologous expression of membrane transporters.
Many research projects at Citadel Hill utilise molecular tools to study a wide range of organisms including viruses, bacteria, phytoplankton and fish.
DNA, RNA and Protein Purification
Quantitative PCR (SYBR Green, High Resolution Melt and probes up to 5-plex)
Liquid Handling Robot
Sample quantification (Nanodrop, spectrophotometers and Bioanylyser)
The Molecular Biology suites at Citadel Hill are currently being refurbished. For more information please contact Matt Hall
The Marine Life and Environmental Resource Centre is a purpose built facility designed for educational and training purposes. The Resource Centre has a seminar area for up to 80 people and fully equipped laboratory space for up to 40 people.
The centre links to the MBA Common Room serving high quality refreshments for courses and offering the best views in Plymouth!
The Centre is designed for a variety of educational and training purposes in support of the local, national and international community, including charities, small and medium-sized businesses, schools and colleges, universities and learned societies.
The Centre provides a spacious and flexible venue combining facilities for workshops, conferences and lectures with laboratory benching and equipment for practical work and field courses. The Centre can be partitioned into connecting meeting and laboratory areas or remain as one large space.
Information on courses and training.
For more information and prices see: Marine Life and Environmental Resource Centre
The main Plymouth Collection consists of some 280 strains from 71 genera of marine phytoplankton. Of the strains in the main collection, approximately 65 are held in common with CCAP (Culture Collection of Algae & Protozoa) in Oban (as a result of the donation to Cambridge in the early 1970′s). Many Plymouth strains are not held by any other collection in the world. In addition to the main collection, there is also a collection of clones of the coccolithophorid Emiliania huxleyi (Lohmann) Hay & Mohler, assembled over recent years as part of a major international research programme. New stains isolated from local plankton samples and phytoplankton blooms are also added to the Collection from time to time.
The Collection plays an essential role in many research programmes funded by the NERC and EC. Fellows of and visitors to the MBA and PML (Plymouth Marine Laboratory) have utilised the Collection for their research. In addition, about half of all requests for cultures come from outside academic institutes and commercial users worldwide.
In order to facilitate access to the materials in the Plymouth Culture Collection, we are currently developing a website with searchable database and on-line order forms. We also welcome research visits from phycologists and others interested in utilising the Collection. For younger researchers, some financial assistance may be available through the Mary Parke Fund.
Please direct your requests for cultures or information to: The Plymouth Culture Collection,
Marine Biological Association,
UK Tel: +44 (0)1752 633216/7
Fax: +44 (0)1752 633102
e-mail: Maria Jutson firstname.lastname@example.org or Richard Pipe email@example.com
The MBA has conducted long-term monitoring surveys for scientific research since the Laboratory in Plymouth opened in 1888.
The MBA has ongoing monitoring time series that it contributes to the NERC -funded Western Channel Observatory, in collaboration with Plymouth Marine Laboratory. There are currently five principal MBA time series under this strategic programme which are relevant to the UK Marine Science Strategy objective of “Sustained long-term monitoring”.
Zooplankton, larval fish & eggs
Since 1906, interruptions 1940-45 and 1987-2001, 2001 to present.
Stations E1, L5 and L4 using the Young Fish Trawl (YFT).
Adult demersal fish
Offshore: Since 1911. Twice monthly at L4 using the ‘Standard Haul’ otter trawl.
Inshore: First sampled in 1913. Twice monthly at inshore stations using an otter trawl.
Since 2003. Infauna collected monthly at L4 using Van Veen grabs.
Infauna and Epifauna (Agassiz trawls) twice yearly at stations A4-6-7, B3-4-5-6-7 and C3-4-5-6 (subset of stations from Holme, 1953).
Since 1950, interruption 1987-2000, ongoing since 2001.
Annual surveys of 25 sites in SW England (part of wider sampling, 400 UK sites).
For enquiries about access to data contact Professor David Sims (email: firstname.lastname@example.org)
DASSH is the UK Marine Data Archive Centre for benthic survey data of both species and habitats. DASSH provides digital archive facilities for benthic datasets and a digital repository for benthic images and video.
DASSH aims to safeguard data (past and future) and make that data available as a national information resource to support marine science and better stewardship of the marine environment. To that end, DASSH provides access to datasets via an on-line catalogue of both metadata and data via this Web site and the National Biodiversity Network (NBN).
DASSH is an accredited Data Archive Centre under the Marine Environmental Data Information Network (MEDIN).
For more information and to submit your data please contact:
Dan Lear (email@example.com)
To go to the NMBL website, please click here: www.mba.ac.uk/nmbl/.
The NMBL’s library and information services provide research support for the marine life and environmental sciences. The library collection is one of the world’s largest of its kind, maintaining an up-to-date selection of books and journals as well as holding historical literature such as old books, expedition reports, conference proceedings and the personal libraries of past MBA researchers, including E. T. Browne, Ray E. Lankester, Marie V. Lebour and J. Z. Young. The library also holds long runs of periodicals, including grey literature, from all over the world. The author catalogue (card and online) facilitates retrieval of marine scientific information that is not otherwise readily available.
As well as being the custodians for the library collections (including the archives), library staff are able to provide a range of professional information services with an emphasis on knowledge exchange and information management. These resources provide essential support to the MBA’s education and communication strategies as well as the core research activities. Among other international positions, the NMBL is currently the UK partner for the Aquatic Sciences and Fisheries Information System (ASFIS) whose principal output is the Aquatic Sciences and Fisheries Abstracts (ASFA) bibliographic database which is an essential reference in the field of aquatic science globally.
Together, the NMBL’s collections and information services help support, develop and maintain the study of marine and environmental sciences in Britain and beyond. For further examples of the NMBL’s resources, please visit the NMBL’s website which provides useful ways of engaging with the collections and includes information on research outputs (though the Research Repository), more than 20 MBA occasional publications (see here), full texts of relevant books, including the 1968 MBA report on the Torrey Canyon oil spill, and early issues of the Journal of the Marine Biological Association (here).