Collections

The MBA's collections are diverse and contain many important documents and objects pertaining to the history of the MBA, the history of marine biology, and personal and local stories. More information on these collections will be added here in due course.

The National Marine Biological Library (NMBL)

The NMBL Special Collections

The MBA Archive Collection

The MBA Object Collection

The MBA Herbarium

The National Marine Biological Library (NMBL)

The NMBL began in 1887 as the library of the MBA, and was given national status in 1996 in recognition of the importance of its collections and information services. Its collections cover the marine life and environmental sciences, and constitute one of the world’s largest of its kind.

(For the NMBL pages that pertain to the NMBL's research support activities, please click here.)

The NMBL Special Collections

The NMBL Special Collections are the personal research libraries of several eminent MBA scientists.  Their books and reprints they include some rare 19th century publications and reflect the research and personal interests of the original owners.

The NMBL’s Special Collections are the G. P. Bidder Library, the E. T. Browne Library, the S. F. Harmer Library, the E. R. Lankester Pamphlets, the M. V. Lebour Library and the J. Z. Young Library.

The MBA Archive Collection

The MBA Archive Collection constitutes a unique resource, holding key documents relating to the early history of the MBA and the marine biological sciences in general. This helps locate marine biological sciences at the core of the natural sciences today.

The MBA Archive Collection was catalogued between 1994 and 1996 with funding from the British Library and the Pilgrim Trust. The Catalogue of the MBA Archive Collection was published as Occasional Publication of the MBA, and is available online here.

Project: In partnership with the English and History Departments (Faculty of Arts) at Plymouth University, volunteers transcribe letters from the MBA Archive Collection; please click here for more infomation.

The MBA Object Collection

The MBA Object Collection consists of important scientific instruments such as one of only five extant Levin-Wyman ergometers (invented at the MBA), microscopes, ammeters, specimen samplers and reversing thermometers. This collection contains some 100 objects.

Project: The MBA Object Collection was catalogued in 2013 as part of the "Laboratory on the Hoe" project. For more information, please click here.

The MBA Herbarium

The MBA Herbarium is a collection of preserved specimens of algae collated since the mid-nineteenth century. It is a world-class resource of historical and scientific importance. For more information on the MBA Herbarium, please click here.

Project: From March 2013, the MBA will be adding information relating to people involved with the MBA Herbarium. In addition, from July to September 2013, we will be looking specifically at women phycologists who contributed to the MBA Herbarium, thanks to funding from the British Society for the History of Science. To see the results of these projects, please click here.

Project: Between April and June 2013, the catalogue of the MBA Herbarium will be digitised and some specimens photographed thanks to funding from the Vodafone Foundation "World of Difference" programme. For more information, please click here.

Resources: The catalogue of the lichens in the MBA Herbarium was digitized and made available online in November 2013. For more information, please click here

 Return to the MBA Collections home page.