Our People

Meet our team

We have a dedicated, passionate and diverse community of staff. This includes scientists and researchers who share expert knowledge on marine biology.


Our People

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Director, Professor Willie Wilson smiling and standing in front of our MBA sign and Smeaton's lighthouse in the distance.

Professor Willie Wilson, FMBA

Chief Executive

Professor Willie Wilson, FMBA

Chief Executive

Director, Professor Willie Wilson smiling and standing in front of our MBA sign and Smeaton's lighthouse in the distance.

wilwil@mba.ac.uk

As a marine biologist with over 30 year’s research and management experience, I now have my dream job as MBA Chief Executive. My vision is to make the MBA a career destination that scientists and support staff alike aspire to work at.

Through our membership, I am also passionate about encouraging marine biology enthusiasts to lend their voice to some of the most pressing environmental issues on the planet. With a Marine Biology/Biochemistry degree from Bangor University (1990), PhD from University of Warwick (1994), I also had positions at Plymouth Marine Laboratory; Bigelow Laboratory for Ocean Sciences (USA); Sir Alister Hardy Foundation for Ocean Science (SAHFOS).

As a self-confessed ‘virus evangelist’, my personal research interests focus on the multiple roles of marine viruses “lubricants of the great engines of planetary control”. I have expertise revealing interactions between viruses and phytoplankton, with an emphasis on understanding the genetic basis of virus infections and their ecological and evolutionary consequences for ocean life. In short, why are viruses essential for life, as we know it!

My research has contributed to over 130 publications. My favourite sport is curling and I spend a lot of time hiking on Dartmoor (though not at the same time!).

Dr Michael Cunliffe

Professor Michael Cunliffe, Mem.MBA

Director of Science, Senior Research Fellow

Professor Michael Cunliffe, Mem.MBA

Director of Science, Senior Research Fellow

Dr Michael Cunliffe

micnli@mba.ac.uk

I received a degree in environmental biology from the University of Liverpool, and a MSc and PhD in Microbiology from the University of Manchester. After a postdoc at the University of Warwick, I joined the Marine Biological Association (MBA) in 2010 as a MBA Research Fellow (Group Leader). In 2014, I started a joint appointment between the MBA and the University of Plymouth, where I am currently a MBA Senior Research Fellow and Professor of Marine Microbiology in the School of Biological and Marine Sciences. I create knowledge through research and communicate knowledge through teaching, outreach and knowledge exchange activities. At the MBA I lead a diverse research group who study a range of topics in microbial biology, ecology, and evolution. Our research group works both in the lab and out in the marine environment, locally around Plymouth and in distant locations, including polar regions and the open ocean.

Research Group: Microbiology and Molecular Ecology

Katrina-Houghton

Katrina Houghton

Director of Operations

Katrina Houghton

Director of Operations

Katrina-Houghton

kathou@mba.ac.uk

I am Director of Operations at the MBA with a wide range of responsibilities for infrastructure and support services as well as organisational policy that enable the MBA to achieve its science and business objectives.
I have a post graduate diploma in Public Health and a breadth of management experience across a variety of disciplines from public health and childrens services to environmental operations. Having had a multi path career, I have a wealth of skills and experience to draw upon from the creative sector to the public sector. In local government I have held senior positions managing frontline services and led high profile projects and improvement programmes.

Jan Howes

Janet Howes, ACMA, CGMA

Director of Finance

Janet Howes, ACMA, CGMA

Director of Finance

Jan Howes

janhow@mba.ac.uk

I qualified in 1999 as Chartered Management Accountant.  I have many years’ experience in the not for profit sector as well as the private sector, having worked at Finance Director level in a variety of businesses for over 25 years. I joined the MBA in 2016. 

David Johns

David Johns

Director of Research Facilities, Chair NMBAQC

David Johns

Director of Research Facilities, Chair NMBAQC

David Johns

djoh@mba.ac.uk

Growing up in the South West UK, I have always been interested in marine life, and could usually be found when young either rock pooling, fishing or foraging. I started work with the CPR Survey in 1997, initially as a plankton analyst, and built on my taxonomic knowledge to investigate changes in the plankton community. Now I am lucky enough to be the Head of the CPR Survey, the fact it has been running since 1931 makes it more of a current custodian role! I’m also a member of the Senior Management Team here at the MBA, also representing the Research Vessels. My recent work has focussed on applying plankton data to the question of marine ecosystem health, and how we can monitor the key trophic layers which all marine life is ultimately dependent upon. I still occasionally look down the microscope, curiosity at looking at microscopic life has never left me – seeing a good example of something quite common can be as exciting as an exotic specimen – I am fascinated with all aspects of natural history. Externally I chair the NMBAQC committee, promoting best practice in marine biological monitoring, making sure data collected are as robust and reliable as possible. 

John Bishop

Dr John Bishop, Mem.MBA

Associate Fellow

Dr John Bishop, Mem.MBA

Associate Fellow

John Bishop

jbis@mba.ac.uk

I have been associated with the Marine Biological Association since 1995, first as a Research Fellow, then from 2000 to 2009 by maintaining a research group at Citadel Hill while teaching at the University of Plymouth, before continuing at the MBA from 2009 as an Associate Fellow. One strand of my research has involved culturing two colonial marine invertebrates—an ascidian and a bryozoan—for experimental investigation of mating by the release, dispersal and uptake of water-borne sperm, a process commonplace in sessile aquatic animals and in many ways analogous to wind pollination. One offshoot of this work has been the study of polyembryony in cyclostome bryozoans, in which sexually produced embryos are cloned into multiple identical young. We have also looked at the fusion of conspecific colonies in ascidians and bryozoans to produce genetically composite, physically integrated chimaeras, which are frequent in some natural populations. A second research focus has developed since about 2007: non-native species (NNS) moving around the world as a result of human activities. We survey extensively in harbours and marinas—hotspots for NNS—and for a while used molecular methods to infer the population history of chosen species in both North West Europe and globally.

Katherine Helliwell stands in front of MBA algal collection

Dr Katherine Helliwell

NERC Independent Research Fellow

Dr Katherine Helliwell

NERC Independent Research Fellow

Katherine Helliwell stands in front of MBA algal collection

katherine.helliwell@mba.ac.uk

I am a molecular microbiologist interested in the fundamental biology of photosynthetic marine microbes, which critically underpin marine ecosystems. Following a degree in Biological Sciences at the University of Bristol, I pursued a PhD and postdoc with professor Alison Smith in the Department of Plant Sciences, University of Cambridge. During this time my work dissected the role of organic nutrients (vitamins) in governing interactions between phytoplankton and bacteria, and brought significant advances to our understanding in vitamin metabolism in aquatic microbes. After a postdoc at the MBA with Professor Colin Brownlee on algal signalling mechanisms, I was awarded a NERC Independant Research Fellowship and currently hold a joint appointment with the University of Exeter. Our research group couples novel molecular tools with environmental methods to investigate interactions of algae with other marine microbes, algal nutrient physiology and cell signalling mechanisms. Our overarching aim is to better understand how algae sense and respond to their environment.

Research Group: Algal Microbiome and Ecophysiology

Jo Langston

Joanna Langston

Head of Membership

Joanna Langston

Head of Membership

Jo Langston

joalan@mba.ac.uk

My role is to support the growth of the association’s membership to help achieve its aim to be the voice of marine biology, through creating and supporting a global community of marine biologists. My background is in developing and managing a range of support services. Prior to joining the MBA I worked within the membership department of an established professional association, which supported 60,000 members in the field of counselling and psychotherapy. I also have a lifelong interest in marine conservation and as such I feel incredibly privileged to apply this, along with the knowledge and expertise in membership associations that I have I built-up over the years, to support the profession and those that work within it.

Dan Lear

Dan Lear, MSc

Head of Data, Information and Technology

Dan Lear, MSc

Head of Data, Information and Technology

Dan Lear

dble@mba.ac.uk

I lead the Marine Biological Association (MBA) IT and Data Teams and am project co-ordinator for DASSH; the Marine Data and Information Network (MEDIN) accredited Data Archive Centre (DAC) for biodiversity data. I currently have over 25 years’ experience in marine data management and publication. I am also a member of the global Ocean Biodiversity Information System (OBIS) Steering Group, and lead the UK contribution through the UK OBIS Node hosted at the MBA. I represent the MBA on a range on national and international working groups and expert panels, bringing my wealth of experience to inform and guide data standardisation and interoperability. I’m the Chair of the Biodiversity Data and Information Group (BioDIG) a technical sub-group of the Healthy and Biologically Diverse Seas Evidence Group (HBDSEG) and am co-chair of the MEDIN Data Archive Centre Working Group and an expert member of the MEDIN Executive. Within Marine Research Plymouth I lead the Digital Science component and represents this key area on the MRP Executive Body.

Senior Research Fellow Dr Nova Mieszkowska smiling with coast backdrop

Dr Nova Mieszkowska

Senior Research Fellow

Dr Nova Mieszkowska

Senior Research Fellow

Senior Research Fellow Dr Nova Mieszkowska smiling with coast backdrop

nova@mba.ac.uk

My international research programme focuses on species and ecosystem-level responses to environmental change and multiple stressors in the marine environment, embedding small-scale, process-oriented experimental studies within larger scale macroecological investigations. This approach focuses on individual organisms via experimental physiological ecology and ecological genomics, integrating to the population level with long-term time-series data collection, analysis and modelling to identify mechanisms of species response. I am the principal investigator for the Marine Biodiversity & Climate Change Project (MarClim), which has the most spatio-temporally extensive time-series of rocky intertidal systems globally. MarClim has shown some of the fastest biogeographic range shifts in response to climate change in any natural system. I have also been involved with the Intergovernmental Panel for Climate Change (IPCC) in various capacities for more than a decade. My science-policy knowledge exchange work includes provision of field survey and monitoring data and assessments of ecosystem status, contributions to national and international policy drivers, authorship on national reports including the Marine Climate Change Impacts Partnership Annual Report Cards, and presenting to UK government and EU bodies. I have developed indicators of Good Environmental Status for implementation of the Marine Strategy Framework Directive in intertidal and subtidal habitats around the UK.

Research Group: Marine Biodiversity and Climate Change

Dr Vengamanaidu (Venky) Modepalli smiling next to tanks

Dr Vengamanaidu Modepalli

Anne Warner Research Fellow

Dr Vengamanaidu Modepalli

Anne Warner Research Fellow

Dr Vengamanaidu (Venky) Modepalli smiling next to tanks

venmod@mba.ac.uk

I am a comparative and molecular evolutionary biologist, I explore non-bilaterian animals like sponges and cnidarians (corals, sea anemones, and jellyfish) to gain insights into fundamental evolutionary principles. After completing my PhD at Deakin University in Australia, I joined Professor Yehu Moran’s lab at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem in Israel to investigate the workings of post-transcriptional gene regulation by small RNAs in cnidarians. In 2018, I received an Anne Warner Research Fellowship to establish my research group at the Marine Biological Association. My research group explores various evolutionary topics, including the emergence of neurons, the evolution of the larval sensory system, and the process of small RNA biogenesis. Our work encompasses molecular and ecological perspectives, as well as directs on immediate global environmental issues while exploring fundamental mechanisms.

Research group: Evolution of early branching metazoans

Jon Parr

Jon Parr, Mem.MBA, MRICS

Head of Estates

Jon Parr, Mem.MBA, MRICS

Head of Estates

Jon Parr

jpar@mba.ac.uk

I am responsible for the Marine Biological Association (MBA) buildings and facilities and I am currently the Project Director for the MBA’s major infrastructure project, redeveloping the Citadel Hill site to a masterplan. The first part of the redevelopment began in April 2022 for completion by January 2023. With a background in marine surveying and marine resource management I have previously worked with the MarLIN group developing access to marine data (now the data archive centre, DASSH) and started the education programme at the MBA. I have run many projects and was the Horizons 2020 funded Sea Change Project Co-ordinator.

Maya Plass

Maya Plass Mem.MBA, HonFBNA

Head of Communications

Maya Plass Mem.MBA, HonFBNA

Head of Communications

Maya Plass

maypla@mba.ac.uk

I lead a team who are responsible for establishing the Marine Biological Association as the primary voice of the marine biological community. My ambition is to increase the MBA’s visibility through strengthening our brand, increasing media outputs and targeted marketing in support of our strategic goals.

I have always been passionate about the ocean both in my free time and professionally. After my studies in marine sciences, my career started by reviewing coastal tourism of Peninsula Valdes, Argentina followed by working on a European water catchment project for Devon County Council. I went on to establish my own venture “Learn To Sea” in 2008 which evolved to my becoming an author, media broadcaster and an independent voice for our marine environment. My passion for communicating the importance of life in the ocean and its vital role to society led to my role as patron of marine charities. 

I am excited to apply my experience and skills to my role at the Marine Biological Association (which I have been a proud member of for over 20 years). I have had the privilege of leading on the development of our new website and rebrand of the MBA in 2022.

Nick Pope

Dr Nick Pope, BSc, PhD

Health & Safety Advisor

Dr Nick Pope, BSc, PhD

Health & Safety Advisor

Nick Pope

ndpo@mba.ac.uk

My current role is MBA Health & Safety Advisor. This encompasses the provision of advice and expertise across all MBA activities from the site and buildings themselves through fieldwork, laboratory, workshop and office-based activities, together with oversight of the MBA’s Safety Management Systems. The role also includes safety induction for all staff, students, volunteers and visitors, together with provision of safety training. I am also responsible for investigation of any accidents, incidents and near-misses and I chair the monthly Health, Safety and Wellbeing Committee meetings. I hold the NEBOSH National General Certificate in Occupational Safety and Health together with the NEBOSH Certificate in Fire Safety.

Prior to Health & Safety, my science background surrounded the sources, behaviour, fate and effects of contaminants (including metals, organometals, nanomaterials, endocrine disruptors) in estuarine and coastal environments. A particular interest was the role of fine sediments in the behaviour, transport and bioavailability of contaminants, together with their role as long-term reservoirs of historic contamination.

Outside of work I enjoy a wide range of sports and activities including cycling, trail-running, sea-kayaking, hillwalking and climbing. I also own a boat and enjoy fishing and diving from my home in Looe, Cornwall.

Professor David Sims

Professor David Sims, Mem.MBA, MAE

Senior Research Fellow

Professor David Sims, Mem.MBA, MAE

Senior Research Fellow

Professor David Sims

dws@mba.ac.uk

I have a lifelong interest in the behaviour, ecology and conservation of ocean predators. My research career began in 1991 with studies on the ecophysiology of feeding in small-spotted catsharks, completed in part at the Marine Biological Association. I embarked in 1995 on what has become a 25 year study of basking shark behavioural ecology. In 2001, shortly after joining the MBA as Research Fellow, we obtained the first long-term satellite trackings of basking sharks showing that they do not hibernate in winter, exhibit regional annual site fidelity, and cross national boundaries frequently, results which contributed to their international protection under CITES (2003) and CMS (2006) listings. Since 2001 I have studied the movement ecology of oceanic sharks and other threatened fish in relation to climate change and fishing. In 2016 I initiated the Global Shark Movement Project, a collaboration of over 150 scientists across 26 countries, aimed at tracking movements and changing habitats of pelagic sharks and quantifying the threats they face. We revealed where large spatial overlaps between sharks and longline fisheries and shipping occurred, demonstrating how threatened populations are most impacted. Awards for our research include the FSBI Medal (2007) and the Marsh Award for Marine Conservation (2019).

Research Group: Ocean Predator Movement Ecology and Conservation

Dr Dan Smale

Dr Dan Smale

Senior Research Fellow

Dr Dan Smale

Senior Research Fellow

Dr Dan Smale

dansma@mba.ac.uk

I am a community ecologist with a particular focus on how global environmental change is influencing the biodiversity, structure and functioning of marine ecosystems. I have worked extensively on kelp forest ecosystems across Europe, Australia and South America, and used a combination of field observations and manipulative experiments to better understand processes that shape them. My research has demonstrated (i) the importance of kelps as habitat-forming species and determinants of local biodiversity, (ii) the responses of kelp forest communities to both long-term gradual climate change and extreme climatic events, and (iii) patterns and drivers of kelp forest structure and productivity. I have also led recent advances in characterising physical properties and ecological impacts of short-term extreme warming events (i.e. ‘marine heatwaves’), which are emerging as important drivers of marine ecosystem change and are likely to intensity with anthropogenic climate change. Recently, I have collaborated with industry and government partners to conduct applied research to support the emerging seaweed industry. I am a UKRI Future Leaders Fellow and lead a vibrant and productive research group at the MBA.

Research Group: Benthic Ecosystems and Environmental Change

Glen Wheeler

Dr Glen Wheeler

Senior Research Fellow

Dr Glen Wheeler

Senior Research Fellow

Glen Wheeler

glw@mba.ac.uk

I am a molecular cell biologist studying the physiology of marine phytoplankton and other algae. My group examines the mechanisms through which algae sense and respond to their environment, using advanced imaging techniques to visualise these processes in single cells. After studying for a degree in Biology at Nottingham University and a PhD in Plant Biochemistry at the University of Exeter, I moved to Plymouth to study the cell biology of marine algae, initially at Plymouth Marine Laboratory and then moving to the Marine Biological Association in 2014. In recent years, our research has examined how marine phytoplankton are able to respond to changes in salinity, temperature and nutrients. We are also particularly interested in the cell biology of coccolithophores, an important group of marine phytoplankton that have a major impact on the global carbon cycle through their ability to produce an external covering of calcium carbonate plates (coccoliths). By understanding how these algae respond to a changing environment, our research will help us better understand how marine ecosystems will be influenced by future changes in the Earth’s climate.

Research Group: Algal Signalling and Stress Physiology

Marion Smith

Marion Smith

Personal Assistant to the Chief Executive

Marion Smith

Personal Assistant to the Chief Executive

Marion Smith

Email: masm@mba.ac.uk

Patrick Adkins

Patrick Adkins, MRes

Samples Collections Officer.

Patrick Adkins, MRes

Samples Collections Officer.

Patrick Adkins

patadk@mba.ac.uk

I’m a research assistant on the Darwin Tree of Life project who specialises in marine invertebrate identification and collection. Primarily crustacea, echinodermata and various vermiform phyla. I take part in fieldwork and offshore boat work most of the year as well as the processing and preservation of tissues in preparation for genomic work. I am a graduate of Plymouth University courses in Marine Biology and Oceanography (BSc) and Applied Marine science (MRes). The main focus for my MRes thesis was looking at the epifaunal communities living on macroalgae and how they differ between native species and the non-native Sargassum muticum. Before coming to the Marine Biological Association I worked for a year in a benthic laboratory for a consultancy company. My next major goal is to undertake a PhD, potentially to look at the evolution of introduced species in their new ranges when compared to their native ranges, but as someone who is interested in pretty much everything that may change!

Guy Baker

Guy Baker, Mem.MBA

The Marine Biologist Editor

Guy Baker, Mem.MBA

The Marine Biologist Editor

Guy Baker

guba@mba.ac.uk

After graduating with a BSc (Hons) in geology from the University of London I worked in the oil industry for a couple of years.

For a number of years, I worked in the Drawing Office at UCL. I returned to study taking a Masters in Applied Marine Science at Plymouth Uni. After that I worked at the National Marine Aquarium and then at the Environment Agency (Tidal Water Quality group).

I started at the MBA in 2002, first with MarLIN, then as MBA Communications Officer.

We started The Marine Biologist magazine in 2013. I began working full-time on the magazine with the Membership Team in 2020.

Phoebe Barrett BSc

Plankton Analyst

Phoebe Barrett BSc

Plankton Analyst

phobar@mba.ac.uk

Jordan Blair

Jordan Blair

Plankton Analyst

Jordan Blair

Plankton Analyst

Jordan Blair

jorbla@mba.ac.uk

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Nick Bloomer

IT Infrastructure and Systems Manager

Nick Bloomer

IT Infrastructure and Systems Manager

MBA icon

Email: njbl@mba.ac.uk

dr-gerald-boalch

Dr Gerald Boalch

Honorary Fellow

Dr Gerald Boalch

Honorary Fellow

dr-gerald-boalch

gtb@mba.ac.uk

Dr Gerald Boalch is a marine phycologist and has worked at the MBA since 1958, for the first thee years as International paints research Fellow and then as phycologist on the staff. From 1993 to 1999 he also served as Bursar and assistant to the Director. He has published a number of papers on seaweed ecology and distribution, and on the taxonomy, ecology of marine phytoplankton. For over 50 years he has recorded the phytoplankton species in tow net samples taken weekly from station L4.

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Gemma Brice, MSc

Plankton Analyst and Interpretation Officer

Gemma Brice, MSc

Plankton Analyst and Interpretation Officer

MBA icon

Gemma.Brice@mba.ac.uk

As a continuous Plankton Recorder (CPR) Survey Plankton Analyst since 2008, I have gained a wealth of taxonomic expertise in phyto and zooplankton from the North Atlantic and Pacific regions of the survey. I help with the smooth operation of the survey through processing log forms, managing the cutting team and sample preparation.

I am a skilled graphic designer and content creator. In my role I have edited/designed/managed the CPR Survey Reports, the MBA Annual Report, CPR website, CPR social media, MBA Online shop and ad hoc taxanomic workshop websites and logos. I am also experienced in event management having coordinated numerous local to international taxanomic workshops and symposiums.

Additionally I am part of the MBA Sustainability Group, and am a Staff Association representative.

Rachel Brittain

Rachel Brittain

Research Vessel Manager

Rachel Brittain

Research Vessel Manager

Rachel Brittain

racbri@mba.ac.uk

Fraser Brough on the rocky shore smiling

Fraser Brough BSc, MRes

Research Assistant

Fraser Brough BSc, MRes

Research Assistant

Fraser Brough on the rocky shore smiling

frabro@mba.ac.uk

My role as a research assistant within Dr Dan Smale’s group involves supporting the science through assisting with scientific diving operations, rocky shore surveys and laboratory processing of benthic marine samples. I graduated from the University of Plymouth with an MRes in Applied Marine Science where my project focused on the impact of Artificial Light at Night on the larval development of benthic marine organisms. All aspects of the ocean fascinate me and maintaining my 200L reef tank is one of my favourite hobbies that allows me to enjoy watching coral and fish at home

Tracy-Brown

Tracy Brown

Housekeeper

Tracy Brown

Housekeeper

Tracy-Brown

Email: trabro@mba.ac.uk

Professor Colin Brownlee standing by Mesolens Microscope

Professor Colin Brownlee, FMBA, FLS

Lankester Research Fellow

Professor Colin Brownlee, FMBA, FLS

Lankester Research Fellow

Professor Colin Brownlee standing by Mesolens Microscope

cbr@mba.ac.uk

I am a Ray Lankester Fellow at the Marine Biological Association and Professor Emeritus in the School of Ocean and Earth Sciences at the University of Southampton. I am a former MBA Director and Senior Research Fellow. I study algal cells in order to understand fundamental aspects of cell biology, including transport across cell membranes, cellular homeostasis and cellular signalling processes that determine how phytoplankton cells sense and respond to changes in their environment. This research is providing unexpected insights into the evolution of membrane transport and signalling mechanisms in eukaryote organisms more generally. My research addresses the cell biology of key marine organisms, such as the calcifying coccolithophores and silicifying diatoms that are of critical importance in global carbon and nutrient cycles. This work has recently uncovered a new class of cation channels that play important roles in cell signalling in diatoms and coccolithophores as well as novel proton channels that are critical components of the coccolithophore calcification machinery. I adopt a multidisciplinary approach combining comparative physiology, molecular biology and genomics together with new advances in microscopy to better understand how phytoplankton populations may respond or adapt to changing conditions in the oceans.

Martina Brunetta

Martina Brunetta

Plankton Analyst

Martina Brunetta

Plankton Analyst

Martina Brunetta

marbru@mba.ac.uk

Julie Bunt smiling standing in front of MBA library

Julie Bunt

DASSH Officer

Julie Bunt

DASSH Officer

Julie Bunt smiling standing in front of MBA library

julbun@mba.ac.uk

My role is that of DASSH Officer on a part time basis, where I conduct digitisation and standardisation activities across a variety of Marine Biodiversity data sets. I am responsible for collating and reporting statistics, liasing with partners and also DASSH team’s social media udates.

I am continuing to study part time and am a second year FdSc Marine Conservation student at Newquay University Centre.  I am part of Newquay Marine Group and have just completed the Marine Mammal Surveyor course with ORCA so hope to volunteer with them later next year.

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Rob Camp, Mem.MBA

Instrumentation and Data Technician

Rob Camp, Mem.MBA

Instrumentation and Data Technician

MBA icon

robmpa@mba.ac.uk

I am the instrumentation and data technician for the Continuous Plankton Recorder (CPR) Survey department of the Marine Biological Association, responsible for the deployment, recovery and maintenance of instruments fitted to the CPR.

I am currently engaged with the iCPR project, enhancing the capabilities of the CPR by using a new set of procedures and technologies to generate a large variety of new data (in-situ images, environmental parameters, CPR behaviour etc.) and integrate them into CPR data.

I am also an experienced plankton analyst, trained in the taxanomic identification of Atlantic and Pacific Ocean species.

Neri Blower

Neri Campbell

Communications Officer

Neri Campbell

Communications Officer

Neri Blower

Neri.Campbell@mba.ac.uk

With almost 10 years’ experience working in public relations, journalism and marketing, I have a wealth of communication knowledge which I use to promote the world-leading research and science innovation from the Marine Biological Association.
My key areas of expertise are: news stories, press releases and distribution, web editing, working with the media, digital design and graphics, video editing, social media advertising and promotions.

Profile photo of staff member Maxine Canvin in a laboratory

Maxine Canvin BSc, MRes.

PHD Student

Maxine Canvin BSc, MRes.

PHD Student

Profile photo of staff member Maxine Canvin in a laboratory

maxcan@mba.ac.uk

I am a PhD student funded by WWF, working with Prof. Pippa Moore (Newcastle University) and Dr. Dan Smale (MBA). The project aims to quantify the contribution of kelp farming to Blue Carbon ecosystem services. This will involve determining rates of particulate and dissolved organic carbon loss and quantifying kelp-derived carbon in sediments in and around kelp farms. A variety of techniques will be applied, including lead dating, stable isotope analysis and eDNA, as well as closely working together with kelp farms in the UK to develop protocols for cost-effectively monitoring carbon sequestration. Previously, I studied BSc Marine and Freshwater Biology at Aberystwyth University, completing my dissertation on the effect of ecologically realistic marine heatwaves on kelp and kelp associated species under the supervision of Prof. Pippa Moore. Following this, I graduated from the MRes Marine Biology programme at Plymouth University. Here, supervised by Dr. Antony Knights, I characterised dispersal of kelp species associated with the UK to better understand patterns connectivity using a particle-tracking model.

Dr Nathan Chrismas

Dr Nathan Chrismas

Postdoctoral Research Assistant

Dr Nathan Chrismas

Postdoctoral Research Assistant

Dr Nathan Chrismas

natchr@mba.ac.uk

My main research interests focus on the use of -omic approaches to understand the molecular mechanisms behind environmental adaptation in cyanobacteria, fungi, and lichens. My PhD work centred around understanding the evolution of polar and alpine cyanobacteria, including genome level adaptations of cyanobacteria to extreme cold environments. During my postdoctoral work at the MBA I’ve used bioinformatics to explore spatial and temporal dynamics of marine fungal communities as part of the ERC project MYCO-CARB and carried out transcriptomic analysis of the aquatic chytrid fungus Rhizoclosmatium globosum. I’m currently working on transcriptomic approaches to investigate the molecular response of the marine lichen Lichina pygmaea to tidal cycles and am developing my own research exploring molecular aspects of the lichen symbiosis. I have a strong interest in science outreach, with a particular passion for engaging with the rock climbing and hillwalking community about lichen diversity and conservation.

Isobel Cole

Isobel Cole

PhD Student

Isobel Cole

PhD Student

Isobel Cole

isocol@mba.ac.uk

Dave Conway

Dr Dave Conway, PhD, Mem.MBA

Associate Fellow

Dr Dave Conway, PhD, Mem.MBA

Associate Fellow

Dave Conway

dvpc@mba.ac.uk

Keywords: Plankton

On leaving school in 1963 I worked as a technician in the plankton section of the marine fisheries laboratory in Aberdeen, completing an honours degree at Aberdeen University betwen 1972 and 1973, before moving to The Plymouth Marine Laboratory in 1977. In 1999 I transferred across to the MBA and was awarded a PhD in 2000 by Plymouth University.

My career has been research on a wide range of plankton groups, studying distribution, vertical migration, feeding, digestion, biochemistry etc., much of it in relation to modelling fish survival. I have also produced identification guides for European and Indian Ocean zooplankton.

I am now retired, but do contract plankton analysisis for the MBA and also involve myself in plankton training and education projects at all levels. I am currently doing a lot of plankton photography, in preparaton for a photographic identification guide book of European zooplankton.

Susan Cook

Sue Cook

Housekeeper

Sue Cook

Housekeeper

Susan Cook

Email: suscoo@mba.ac.uk

Ethan in the CPR laboratory

Ethan Cooke BSc

CPR Plankton Analyst

Ethan Cooke BSc

CPR Plankton Analyst

Ethan in the CPR laboratory

ethcoo@mba.ac.uk

Emily Cooper

Emily Cooper, BSc, MRes, AMRSC

PhD Student

Emily Cooper, BSc, MRes, AMRSC

PhD Student

Emily Cooper

emicoo@mba.ac.uk

Sophie Corrigan smiling in a wetsuit on the rocky shore surrounded by seaweeds

Sophie Corrigan

PhD Student

Sophie Corrigan

PhD Student

Sophie Corrigan smiling in a wetsuit on the rocky shore surrounded by seaweeds

sopcor@mba.ac.uk

I am a PhD student at the University of Exeter, the Marine Biological Association and Cefas. My research focuses on evaluating and maximising the environmental benefits of seaweed farming in the Southwest, particularly in terms of quantifying the habitat value and biodiversity supported by seaweed farms. I investigate everything from the small epibionts colonising the farms, to benthic infauna and mobile fish populations of potential conservation and commercial importance. The aim of this work is to inform the regulation and development of ecosystem-based approaches to aid in the expansion of seaweed cultivation around the UK. Previously, I studied MSci Marine Biology at the University of Exeter, where I worked on diverse research projects from the effects of clutch relocation on loggerhead sea turtles, to the development of a low-cost in situ method to quantify estuarine-air carbon dioxide fluxes. After graduating, I worked as a research assistant on the Atlantic Meridional Transect Ocean Flux from Satellite Campaign (AMT4OceanSatFlux) funded by the European Space Agency. This project estimated Atlantic Ocean carbon dioxide exchange using satellite and in situ data to enhance monitoring and validate current predictions of the ocean carbon sink. Outside of academia, I am passionate about science communication and wildlife filmmaking.

MBA icon

Paul Dando

Lankester Research Fellow

Paul Dando

Lankester Research Fellow

MBA icon

pdando@mba.ac.uk

I have worked as a marine scientist for over 55 years, mainly at the Marine Biological Association but with a period of 13 years as Professor of Marine Biology at Bangor University. My research interests include: the environmental effects of hydrothermal vents, hydrocarbon seeps and submarine ground water seeps (including their roles in geochemical cycles and benthic production); the behaviour, biochemistry and physiology of bivalves and frenulate pogonophores with methanotrophic and chemoautotrophic bacterial symbionts; the biochemical and population genetics of fish and barnacles and the distribution and home ranges of fish in estuaries (including their spawning and nursery grounds). My research areas have ranged from the Mediterranean to mid-Atlantic and the Arctic and from Panama to the Gulf of California and northwards to the Canadian coast in the NE Pacific, using research vessels from 9 different countries.

Cell and Molecular Laboratory Manager Matthew Davies

Matthew Davies

Cell and Molecular Laboratory Manager

Matthew Davies

Cell and Molecular Laboratory Manager

Cell and Molecular Laboratory Manager Matthew Davies

matdav@mba.ac.uk

Poppy Diver

Poppy Diver, MEarthSci

PhD Student

Poppy Diver, MEarthSci

PhD Student

Poppy Diver

popdiv@mba.ac.uk

I am a PhD researcher on a NERC-funded INSPIRE Doctoral Training Partnership between the MBA and the University of Southampton. I am interested in the ecology of marine fungi and their role in biogeochemical processes. My primary research aims are to characterise the key functional traits of marine fungi and to develop a mechanistic basis for their incorporation into plankton community models.

Much of my work utilises a selection of model marine yeast strains from the MBA Fungal Culture Collection. By monitoring yeast cell morphology and physiology across a range of nutrient conditions in the lab, I aim to better understand their ecological function in the dynamic marine environment. Using observations of cell size and growth rate, I draw functional comparisons with other plankton groups.

Before my PhD, I researched the influence of trace metal availability on marine ammonia oxidation as part of the OceanBug group at the University of Oxford. I joined the team as a 4th year MEarthSci student and continued as a research assistant on the APPELS (A Probe of the Periodic Elements for Life in the Sea) project.

Chloe Figueroa smiling to the camera in the MBA library

Chloe Figueroa Ashforth MSci

DASSH Senior Data Officer

Chloe Figueroa Ashforth MSci

DASSH Senior Data Officer

Chloe Figueroa smiling to the camera in the MBA library

chlfig@mba.ac.uk

I joined the MBA at the start of 2023 as the Senior Data officer for the DASSH (The UK Archive for Marine Species and Habitats Data) team. I assist with the digitisation, standardisation, quality assurance and sign off of marine biodiversity data sets, as well as managing placement students, responding to data enquiries and representing DASSH at external meetings.

I hold an MSci (Hons) Biology degree and developed my data and technical skills through my previous role in biomedical data management software support. I am a keen SCUBA diver and enjoy putting my marine ID skills to the test when out on dives.

lize-gibson

Lize Gibson-Hall BSc, MSc

Training and Events Coordinator

Lize Gibson-Hall BSc, MSc

Training and Events Coordinator

lize-gibson

lizhal@mba.ac.uk

I am delighted to be moving within the Membership team to a new position as Training and Events Coordinator. I completed my undergraduate and masters in marine biology and conservation at Plymouth University and have continued to love the city. I started at the MBA a few years ago helping in the seawater hall and have an especial love for cuttlefish. I also worked with the MarLIN team during my placement year where I discovered a passion for writing and science communication which I hope to take forward in my career. My hobbies include photography, scuba diving, and going to metal gigs.

Eleanor Gilbert

Eleanor Gilbert

PhD Student

Eleanor Gilbert

PhD Student

Eleanor Gilbert

elegil@mba.ac.uk

I am a PhD student at the University of Plymouth and the Marine Biological Association. I am funded by ARIES (NERC) and work with Dr Venky Modepalli. My project uses transcriptomics, bioinformatics and molecular techniques to look at the evolution of the apical organ and apical tuft in cnidarians. I work primarily on the starlet sea anemone (Nematostella vectensis), but also moon jellyfish (Aurelia aurita) and coral (Acropora sp.).

My entire academic career has been based in Plymouth. I obtained my BSc in Marine Biology and Oceanography from the university in 2019 and continued onto the MRes Marine Biology masters before applying for my PhD.

I would like a career in industry following my PhD. I am keen to apply the lab techniques that I have learned here in the field of biotechnology. I am particularly interested in biopharmaceuticals, sustainable product development, and food security.

Outside of academia, I am a musician, a keen cook, an avid swimmer, and I spend a lot of my free time reading and crafting.

Carol Giles

Carol Giles, Mem.MBA

Library Services Manager

Carol Giles, Mem.MBA

Library Services Manager

Carol Giles

cargil@mba.ac.uk

I am responsible for delivery of services at The National Marine Biological Library (NMBL), including Open Access, copyright and IPR, journal subscriptions, as well as management of the Plymouth Marine Science Electronic Archive (PlyMSEA) repository and the large amount of archive material held in the Library. After service in the Royal Navy I gained an Honours degree in History and European Studies and a Postgraduate qualification in Library and Information Studies at the University of Strathclyde. I have been a Library Manager in both academic and health library services and have a special interest in information and knowledge management in the workplace. I also lecture at University of the West of England on the Information Management MSc and have lots of interests outside of work including horse riding, writing and alpaca trekking. I am also a qualified Qigong teacher. My aim for the NMBL is to improve access to, and the visibility of, some of the unique and valuable items we have in our stock and to increase co-operation amongst the marine science library community.

Rozzy Greenrod smiling

Rosalind Greenrod

Site Services Assistant

Rosalind Greenrod

Site Services Assistant

Rozzy Greenrod smiling

rosgre@mba.ac.uk

As Site Services Assistant, my role is varied and involves a vast range of jobs across the MBA site. My duties include carrying out preparation and cleaning of the laboratories, reception cover, event and meeting room organisation, helping in the kitchen, and being of assistance where needed.

Lance Gregory

Lance Gregory, MarEngTech, Cert Ed, LCGI

CPR Survey Operations Manager

Lance Gregory, MarEngTech, Cert Ed, LCGI

CPR Survey Operations Manager

Lance Gregory

lgreg@mba.ac.uk

I manage the Operations and Workshop team for the CPR Survey. I have responsibilities for the maintenance and global logistics of all CPR equipment. A key part of my role is developing the essential relationships with the merchant shipping community and the design and installation of towing equipment on volunteer merchant vessels enabling the CPR survey to have such a geographical coverage.

I have assisted in the start-up of many sister surveys and bespoke one-off CPR projects across the globe.

Prior to this job I was an Engineering Technician in the RAF which involved a wide variety of duties including serving on various Air Force vessels engaged in towing at sea.

In my spare time i enjoy sailing as well as skiing with my family.

DASSH Data Manager Charlotte (Charlie) Gough leaning against a bookcase in the library.

Charlotte (Charlie) Gough

DASSH Data Manager

Charlotte (Charlie) Gough

DASSH Data Manager

DASSH Data Manager Charlotte (Charlie) Gough leaning against a bookcase in the library.

chagou@mba.ac.uk

Keywords: Data collection

I joined the MBA team as the Data Manager for DASSH (UK Archive for Marine Species and Habitats Data) in May 2023. I have an MSc in Conservation Biology and am currently completing my PhD part time on the small-scale fisheries of Madagascar at the University of Exeter. I built my experience and passion for data and data sharing working for the British NGO Blue Ventures. Having spent a decade living and working in southwest Madagascar I saw first-hand how the lack of information on the status of marine natural resources undermines local and national efforts to manage and conserve them.  

I led a number of research expeditions collecting biodiversity data around the country and spearheaded the development of community-based data collection, management and visualisation systems that served to engage and inform both fishers and policy makers. These systems are now being used by communities across multiple countries to guide local marine resource management decisions and empower local leaders to advocate for wider policy changes that will help to sustain their fisheries.
Saoirse Haran smiling in front of our Citadel Hill building

Saoirse Haran

Senior Finance Assistant

Saoirse Haran

Senior Finance Assistant

Saoirse Haran smiling in front of our Citadel Hill building

saohar@mba.ac.uk

Dr Ellen Harrison standing beside microscope

Dr Ellen Harrison

Postdoctoral Researcher

Dr Ellen Harrison

Postdoctoral Researcher

Dr Ellen Harrison standing beside microscope

ellhar@mba.ac.uk

Currently, my research focuses on how marine phytoplankton sense and respond to nutrient levels in their environment. I recently completed my PhD which investigated how algae-bacterial cocultures could be used to supply vitamin B12 to astronauts on long space missions. This was part of a wider collaboration, the MELiSSA project, or Micro-Ecological Life Support System Alternative project that aims to provide all the basic life support necessary for long-distance space exploration.

Cathy Harshaw

Cathy Harshaw, BSc (Hons), APIOL, Mem.MBA

Training and Events Manager

Cathy Harshaw, BSc (Hons), APIOL, Mem.MBA

Training and Events Manager

Cathy Harshaw

cathar@mba.ac.uk

I am responsible for trainings, courses and events both for our members and non-members. I am passionate about bringing people together and creating environments where research, learning and ideas can be shared and collaboration fostered. As a professional coach, experienced educator and Accredited Practitioner of the Institute for Outdoor Learning (APIOL) the design and delivery of high-quality training programmes for a diverse range of audiences is a skill I am excited to bring to the MBA. My passion for the seas started early, growing up on a beach in North-West Ireland, I spent my childhood rummaging in rock pools. This love of the ocean brought me to Plymouth in 2002 to study at the University of Plymouth. I graduated in 2005 with a BSc (Hons) in Marine Biology and Oceanography.

Sophie den Hartog MSc

PhD Student

Sophie den Hartog MSc

PhD Student

sophar@mba.ac.uk

My PhD research aims to elucidate the sensory systems guiding marine invertebrate larval settlement. Specifically, the apical organ which acts as a chemo- and mechano-sensory structure and is thought to play a crucial role in larval settlement and metamorphosis. Thereby also shaping benthic communities. I am particularly interested in Cnidarians (anemones, jellyfish & coral) and Bilaterians (primarily marine worms). As well as showing an incredible diversity in body plan and life-cycle strategies, these sister groups may be key in providing insight into the evolutionary history of the apical organ.

In my free time I enjoy art and design, which influences my research in that I am continuously exploring new ways to visualise and communicate scientific data. For example, as part of my PhD research I am describing the sensory structures in marine larvae through the use of various bioimaging techniques, such as electron microscopy and in situ hybridization.

alix-harvey

Alix Harvey

Ecology Laboratory and Research Aquarium Manager

Alix Harvey

Ecology Laboratory and Research Aquarium Manager

alix-harvey

alilec@mba.ac.uk

My role is to manage the research and lab facilities in our ecology department including general lab support, training and inductions of ecology staff, and lab health & safety.  I run our research aquarium where I am responsible for animal welfare & husbandry and assist with the design and maintenance of experiments as well as ensuring the day-to-day functioning of our equipment and systems alongside our engineer and aquarist team. I have particular expertise with cuttlefish husbandry and breeding as well as having an interest in photography and filming. 

Imran smiling in the laboratory

Imran Luqman Muhammad Hatta BSc, MSc

PhD Student

Imran Luqman Muhammad Hatta BSc, MSc

PhD Student

Imran smiling in the laboratory

imrhat@mba.ac.uk

Keywords: evolution

I specialise in evolutionary developmental biology (Evo-Devo), focusing on early life stages of marine invertebrates. I combine techniques from the fields of molecular biology and bioinformatics to create new theories and approve/disprove existing assumptions regarding the evolutionary history and relationships of various animals.

I graduated with a Bachelor’s degree in Marine Biology from Universiti Malaysia Terengganu and pursued a MSc at Queen Mary University of London (QMUL). Prior to starting the MSc, I underwent a 3-month internship at the Nikolai-Pertsov White Sea Biological Station in Russia. There, I dipped my toes into Evo-Devo by analysing the development of the marine annelid Galathowenia oculata using immunohistochemical and advanced microscopy techniques. At QMUL, I joined the Martin-Duran Lab where I took a deeper dive into the field by studying the gene regulatory networks of body axis regulation of another marine annelid, Owenia fusiformis.

With a clear aspiration towards Evo-Devo, I’m honoured to be sponsored by the BBSRC-UKRI and Marine Biological Association (MBA) to undertake a PhD with Drs Vengamanaidu Modepalli (MBA) and Elizabeth Williams (University of Exeter).

Fun fact about me: I love open water swimming; what better place to spend the next few years in than at a marine research institute!

Lucy Hawker

Lucy Hawker

HR Officer

Lucy Hawker

HR Officer

Lucy Hawker

luchaw@mba.ac.uk

stephen-hawkins

Professor Stephen J Hawkins, BSc, PhD, DSc, FRSB, FHEA, FLS, FMBA

Lankester Research Fellow

Professor Stephen J Hawkins, BSc, PhD, DSc, FRSB, FHEA, FLS, FMBA

Lankester Research Fellow

stephen-hawkins

stehaw@mba.ac.uk

My MBA links commenced in1979 with a NERC Post-Doctoral Fellowship on interactions between intertidal limpets hosted by Alan Southward (AJS).

This followed my PhD at Port Erin (Liverpool University) on experimental rocky shore ecology. When a Lecturer at Manchester University (1980), I became a frequent visitor to the MBA collaborating with AJS on long-term change in relation to climate fluctuations and recovery from the Torrey Canyon oil spill. This continued when back at Port Erin (1987-1995) and at Southampton (1995-1999), enabling re-start long-term intertidal time-series.

When Director of the MBA (199-2007), I re-started offshore time-series to measure I re-started offshore time-series to measure responses to climate change, as well as working on experimental ecology and eco-engineering approaches for eco-sensitive design of sea-defences.

MBA links continued from Bangor (Head of Natural Sciences, then PVC 2007-2010) and Southampton (Dean, Natural and Environmental Sciences, 2010-2015), before returning in 2016, at first on sabbatical and since “retiring” in 2017.
I am an active fieldworker surveying around 40 shores a year and serve on grant panels (Singapore, HK, European) and advisory boards (Biodiversa +). Winner of Carlo Heip Award for marine biodiversity research 2020.

Belle Heaton smiling on the rocky shore

Belle Heaton MRes

Research Technician

Belle Heaton MRes

Research Technician

Belle Heaton smiling on the rocky shore

belhea@mba.ac.uk

I am a research technician working mainly with the Coastal Ecology research groups. I work mainly on Nova Mieszkowska’s team, helping with both fieldwork surveys and the processing and identification of marine organisms. I also work as part of the aquarist team to help maintain the condition of the Research Aquarium and ensure good health of the resident marine organisms.

I have previously been on a placement year (2018-2019) during my undergraduate degree (Marine Biology and Oceanography) within the MBA working within the Outreach Team. I was subsequently employed briefly by the MBA (2019) to help promote the opening of the National Marine Park.

I now have an MRes in Applied Marine Science, which focused on the effects of Magallana gigas (Pacific Oysters) on macrobenthic biodiversity within estuaries of the Southwest, UK. I feel extremely lucky to work at the MBA and I wish to further build upon my coastal ecology and taxonomic knowledge. I am intrigued to see how the Pacific Oyster story unfolds within the UK and in the future would potentially pursue further research into the species.

I love going gym, swimming, snorkelling, climbing and hiking so Plymouth has been kind of perfect for me the past few years. I look forward to the new opportunities and surprises that await me within this new job role.

Dr Pierre Hélaouët

Dr Pierre Hélaouët

Senior Numerical Ecologist and Data Scientist

Dr Pierre Hélaouët

Senior Numerical Ecologist and Data Scientist

Dr Pierre Hélaouët

pihe@mba.ac.uk

I am a senior numercal ecologist with the Continuous Plankton Recorder (CPR) team, as well as a data scientist at the Marine Biological Association (MBA). My research is focused on developing and using ecological concepts, statistical analysis and associated data processing piplelines to explain spatio-temporal variability in planktonic communities. Specialised in marine ecosystems, I have published papers dealing with ecologicaal niche concepts, mesoscale ecology, spatial and temporal dynamics, and trophic interactions. I am also leading the iCPR project, which aims at enhancing the existing CPR platform by integrating new technologies within the most geographically extensive marine biological survey in the world. The project contributes to the development of AI enabled biological observing systems through the creation of an autonomous platform gathering in situ images alongside biological material.

Andrea Highfield

Dr Andrea Highfield, PhD

Postdoctoral Research Assistant

Dr Andrea Highfield, PhD

Postdoctoral Research Assistant

Andrea Highfield

Email: ancba@mba.ac.uk

Keith Hiscock

Dr Keith Hiscock, MBE

Associate Fellow

Dr Keith Hiscock, MBE

Associate Fellow

Keith Hiscock

khis@mba.ac.uk

From a young age, I have been fascinated by where marine things are and how they ‘work’. My PhD (1971-1974) on Water Movement and the Ecology of Sublittoral Rocky Areas reflected opportunities that scuba diving offered in marine research. When the Nature Conservancy Council ‘discovered’ marine environments, I was, with others, able to start surveying the shore and shallow seas around Britain, leading to my appointment as Head of the Marine Nature Conservation Review of Great Britain in 1987. By 1998, I was discussing with the Director of the Marine Biological Association Michael Whitfield, how databases, the internet etc. could bring together information for marine environment management, protection and education: the Marine Life Information Network (MarLIN). Although retiring in 2007, I continue to contribute to the work of the MBA as an Associate Fellow. Having published over 60 journal papers or chapters in books, my activities now are mainly disseminating my knowledge, editing the annual report on South-West Marine Ecosystems, contributing to the development of the Plymouth Sound National Marine Park, diving and photography. In 2014, I published Marine biodiversity conservation: a practical approach and in, in 2018, Exploring Britain’s Hidden World: a Natural History of Seabed Habitats.

Kristina Hixon BSc (Hons) MSc

Library Assistant

Kristina Hixon BSc (Hons) MSc

Library Assistant

krihix@mba.ac.uk

After graduating with a BSc (Hons) in Marine and Freshwater Biology from Aberystwyth University, and an MSc in Oceanography from the University of Southampton, I spent several years working in administration. More recently I’ve had the great pleasure of engaging with the public through a number of informal education roles that took me all around the UK. I’m now very privileged to be working as Library Assistant at the National Marine Biological Library (NMBL). Here I help with the day to day running of the library, as well as assisting with the running of the online repository PlyMSEA. I also manage the library’s social media accounts and get to engage with members and visitors to the library, helping them get the most out of their visit. Outside of work, I love to get out and about, exploring our amazing coast; I also have a passion for reading about our marine world and am slowly but steadily building up my own ‘library’ on the subject – although its not quite as large as the collection at the NMBL!

Michelle Hodge

Finance Assistant/Travel Administrator

Michelle Hodge

Finance Assistant/Travel Administrator

Social Media and Marketing Officer Caitlin Hodges

Caitlin Hodges

Social Media and Marketing Officer

Caitlin Hodges

Social Media and Marketing Officer

Sophie Holden

Sophie Holden

Plankton Analyst and Net Caught Zooplankton Analyst

Sophie Holden

Plankton Analyst and Net Caught Zooplankton Analyst

Sophie Holden

sophol@mba.ac.uk

David smiling in front of lab

David Houghton

Site Services Support Manager

David Houghton

Site Services Support Manager

David smiling in front of lab

davhou@mba.ac.uk

Amy Jeffries smiling with an image of a Basking Shark mouth open behind her

Amy Jeffries BSc

PhD Student

Amy Jeffries BSc

PhD Student

Amy Jeffries smiling with an image of a Basking Shark mouth open behind her

amyjef@mba.ac.uk

I am a marine biologist currently completing my PhD with the Sims Lab at the Marine Biological Association in conjunction with the University of Southampton, as part of the European Research Council funded project OCEAN DEOXYFISH. My research explores the impacts of declining dissolved oxygen levels in our world’s oceans, and the effects this is having on the physiological ecology of marine predators, in particular wide-ranging oceanic shark species. Through my research I aim to provide better insights into how sharks navigate their 3D environment and determine their responses to changing oceanic conditions. Prior to starting my PhD, I completed my MRes Marine Biology degree at the University of Plymouth in collaboration with the MBA and studied Marine Biology at undergraduate level with the University of Exeter. Alongside my studies I have participated in various field work experiences roles as I wanted to be at the forefront of the conservation action. I worked in South Africa for an NGO; it was here where I saw my first shark in its natural habitat. This encounter sparked my enthusiasm to help contribute to the species conservation efforts through my research.

Usha Jha

Usha Jha

Plankton Analyst

Usha Jha

Plankton Analyst

Usha Jha

ushaab@mba.ac.uk

Since joining the CPR Survey in 2009, I have developed my taxonomic knowledge in identifying phytoplankton and zooplankton from the North Atlantic and Pacific areas of the CPR Survey. I also analyse net-caught zooplankton samples for different contract work and do regular quality assurance checks for these samples.

Additionally, I am a member of the cutting team preparing CPR samples for analysis and maintaining the zooplankton reference collection. I am also part of the silk preparation team.I have a keen eye for identifying unusual taxonomic species and was the first to recognize the alien copepod species of Pseudodiaptomus Marinus in North Sea CPR samples, (see Extension of distribution of Pseudodiaptomus Marinus, an introduced copepod, in the North Sea, U. Jha, A. Jetter, J.A. Lindley, L. Postel, and M. Wootton, Marine Biodiversity Records, 2013, Vol. 6; e53)

dr-ian-hunt

Dr Ian Joint, PhD, Mem.MBA

Honorary Fellow

Dr Ian Joint, PhD, Mem.MBA

Honorary Fellow

I am a microbiologist and my primary interest is to understand how microbes interact with each other in the ocean. A fundamental question is how do bacteria accumulate sufficient nutrients to enable growth when, in the oligotrophic ocean, nutrients are present at incredibly low concentrations? Over a period of a day, molecular diffusion could provide sufficient nutrients to support a doubling time of one day for heterotrophic bacteria and autotrophic cyanobacteria. It is unclear how bacteria assimilate low molecular weight compounds against a steep concentration gradient; nutrient concentrations will be many orders of magnitude greater within the cell than in the water in which the bacteria are growing.

Matt Keys

Dr Matthew Keys

Postdoctoral Research Assistant

Dr Matthew Keys

Postdoctoral Research Assistant

Matt Keys

matkey@mba.ac.uk

I am a Post-Doctoral Research Assistant within the Wheeler Group. My research interests are broadly focused on the effects of climate change on marine phytoplankton, including how multiple stressors interact to impact physiological performance at the species level, and community structure, photosynthesis and carbon budgets at the population level. I studied for my PhD at Plymouth Marine Laboratory where my research focussed on the combined effects of elevated CO2 and temperature on natural phytoplankton community taxonomic composition and rates of photosynthetic carbon uptake. Following my PhD award in 2018, I worked as a Research Assistant at the University of Plymouth on a diatom project, investigating unique lipid signatures produced by the marine diatom Rhizosolenia setigera as a novel proxy for biomass estimates. During my Post-Doctoral project at the MBA I will be assessing how cell size constrains carbon uptake in marine diatoms. Using ion-selective microelectrodes, I am currently measuring dynamic changes in carbonate chemistry within the cell surface microenvironment of marine diatoms at the single cell level, across a range of cell sizes.

Nathan King

Dr Nathan King

Postdoctoral Research Assistant

Dr Nathan King

Postdoctoral Research Assistant

Nathan King

natkin@mba.ac.uk

Loick Kleparski in front of his office desk

Dr Loïck Kléparski

Post Doctoral Research Assistant

Dr Loïck Kléparski

Post Doctoral Research Assistant

Loick Kleparski in front of his office desk

loikle@mba.ac.uk

I am a post-doctoral researcher working on the data collected by the Continuous Plankton Recorder (CPR) survey. My research interests focus on how climate variability influences the spatio-temporal distribution of planktonic organisms in the North Pacific and Atlantic Oceans and how it might affect marine ecosystems functioning and services. More precisely, I use large scale observations of plankton abundance and environmental conditions (such as temperature and nutrients concentrations), to investigate how different species with different life strategies respond to the past and present variability, in order to project their future responses in the context of climate change and under different warming scenarios.

Graham Lang - Membership Services Officer-5071

Graham Lang

Membership Services Officer

Graham Lang

Membership Services Officer

Graham Lang - Membership Services Officer-5071

gralan@mba.ac.uk

Thomas Lanstone

DASSH Data Officer/Junior Data Engineer

Thomas Lanstone

DASSH Data Officer/Junior Data Engineer

tholan@mba.ac.uk

Keelan Lawlor smiling in laboratory

Dr Keelan Lawlor

PDRA (Molecular Phytoplankton Ecology)

Dr Keelan Lawlor

PDRA (Molecular Phytoplankton Ecology)

Keelan Lawlor smiling in laboratory

keelaw@mba.ac.uk

Keywords: Plankton

My research currently focuses on developing molecular tools to better understand and predict harmful algal blooms (HABs) as part of the ACTNOW project. I have previously worked investigating macroalgae-bacteria interactions and post-harvest degradation kinetics of macroalgal biomass. I am also interested in extraction kinetics of lipid biomolecules during scale-up, the development/modification of industrial extraction methods to accommodate new feedstocks and the application and development of low-cost hyperspectral image sensor systems and the novel applications of these technologies.I have previously worked on novel (food science) applications of marine microalgae derived biomolecules (specifically complex lipids), their characterisation and functionality based on their physical properties.

Jennifer Leigh

Jennifer Leigh BSc (Hons) MSc

Communications Officer and CPR Survey Plankton Analyst

Jennifer Leigh BSc (Hons) MSc

Communications Officer and CPR Survey Plankton Analyst

Jennifer Leigh

jenski@mba.ac.uk

Since joining the CPR Survey in 2011, I have developed my taxonomic expertise in phyto- and zooplankton and am part of both the North Atlantic and North Pacific Analysis teams. During this time, I’ve worked on various aspects of the CPR Survey and have used this wealth of knowledge to deliver outreach events including training workshops in the UK and abroad and hosting visitors to the MBA. 

In addition to the position of Plankton Analyst, I am also Communications Officer for the MBA. Through this role I share the story and impact of the CPR Survey with a wide range of audiences via presentations at conferences, codeveloping exhibitions in public spaces and working with national media. I am also responsible for internal MBA communications, which includes coordinating a series of internal seminars, publishing monthly newsletters and compiling the MBA Annual Report.   

MBA Logo seahorse

Dr Lilian Lieber, Mem.MBA

Research Fellow

Dr Lilian Lieber, Mem.MBA

Research Fellow

MBA Logo seahorse

lilian.lieber@mba.ac.uk

I am a marine ecologist passionate about using technology to understand and communicate complex patterns and processes in our ocean. My interest in ocean observation technologies began 10 years ago when I explored acoustic imaging sonars to visualise basking shark interactions as part of my MASTS Prize PhD at the University of Aberdeen. My research has since focused on quantifying bio-physical drivers underlying marine predator foraging behaviour and movements in the context of a changing ocean (anthropogenic activity, climate warming). I embrace opportunities for inter-disciplinary knowledge exchange to find innovation in tools applied elsewhere. This includes the use of aerial drones demonstrating that seabird foraging movements are driven by localised physical features enhancing prey availability, or the use of bio-acoustic instrumentation (multibeam, echosounders, ADCPs) to quantify interactions between predators and dynamic or patchy bio-physics. A long-term vision of my research effort is the stepwise integration of physical, chemical and acoustic sensors with biological sampling (imaging, tracking), thereby capturing biological scales ranging from microscopic plankton to large vertebrates. From previous positions at Queen’s University Belfast, Bangor University and research expeditions with St Andrews University, I have an in-depth knowledge of in-situ data collection and started at the MBA in autumn 2023.

Research Group: Biophysics of a Changing Ocean: From Plankton to Predators 

Paul Lonsdale

Paul Lonsdale

Science Support Officer

Paul Lonsdale

Science Support Officer

Paul Lonsdale

paulon@mba.ac.uk

Dr Alexandra Loveridge

Dr Alexandra Loveridge, BSc, PhD

Postdoctoral Research Assistant

Dr Alexandra Loveridge, BSc, PhD

Postdoctoral Research Assistant

Dr Alexandra Loveridge

alelov@mba.ac.uk

I am a Postdoctoral Research Assistant within the Sims Lab, part of the marine sub-project of the COVID-19 Bio-logging Initiative, a global project funded by the Moore Foundation. My research interests lie in movement ecology within the context of the COVID-19 pandemic. I am currently investigating whether the distribution and behaviour of marine animals have been affected by changes in global human activity and maritime traffic due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

I completed my PhD in cnidarian population dynamics from the University of Southampton in 2021, alongside which I volunteered as a data analyst with WorldPop at the University of Southampton, providing policymakers with weekly analyses and visualisations of UK and international population mobility across the COVID-19 pandemic

Sean McTierney

Sean McTierney

Skipper RV MBA Sepia

Sean McTierney

Skipper RV MBA Sepia

Sean McTierney

seamct@mba.ac.uk

MBA icon

Professor Linda Medlin

Associate Fellow

Professor Linda Medlin

Associate Fellow

MBA icon

lkm@mba.ac.uk

Prof. Linda K. Medlin has worked previously as Head of Research at Microbia Environnement, France, at the Observatoire Oceanologique of UPMC, France and at the AWI, Germany. She received Ph.D. from Texas A&M University in 1983 in marine botany. Her expertise is in marine phytoplankton and their evolution/phylogenetics. She has worked for over 20 years in developing phylochips/microarrays/biosensors for early warning systems for toxic algae and freshwater pathogens and for analyzing marine biodiversity. Published 250 papers, 37 books chapters, two edited books and one manual for microarray analysis. Awarded 52 research grants of which 18 are EU. 3X winner of the Tyge Christensen award for best paper in Phycologia and the Provasoli award for best paper in Journal of Phycology. Elected foreign member of Norwegian Academy of Science for her pioneering work in phytoplankton phylogenetics. Her 1988 benchmark publication for first PCR primers for 18S gene opened the door for rRNA genes as biodiversity genes.

Yasmin Meeda

Yasmin Meeda

PhD Researcher

Yasmin Meeda

PhD Researcher

Yasmin Meeda

yasmee@mba.ac.uk

I am a marine molecular microbiologist who studies the fundamental biology of microalgae called diatoms. Diatoms are important drivers of primary productivity within ocean systems and I work to understand how they sense and respond to their environment.

I have received a degree in Biological Sciences at the University of Brighton, a Master of Research from the University of Plymouth and I am currently pursuing a PhD at the University of Exeter and the Marine Biological Association.

I also run an Instagram page @marinebiologywithyaz where I debunk myths about being a marine biologist and provide useful tips and tricks on life as a scientist.

Scott Middleton

Scott Middleton

IT Infrastructure and Systems Officer

Scott Middleton

IT Infrastructure and Systems Officer

Scott Middleton

scomid@mba.ac.uk

Cell and Molecular Support Technician Rob Moore

Rob Moore BSc MRes

Cell and Molecular Support Technician

Rob Moore BSc MRes

Cell and Molecular Support Technician

As the cell and molecular support technician for the MBA, I am responsible for maintaining the MBA’s algal culture and providing general laboratory maintenance for the research teams so they can conduct their investigations. I’m also helping the MBA to move into their recently renovated and purpose-built laboratory by setting up equipment and laboratory spaces for the future. I have a Bachelor of Science and a Master of Research from the University of Plymouth in marine biology and in my undergraduate degree, my project examined anthropogenic noise pollution on jellyfish polyp settlement rates. During my placement year, I gained practical skills in a marine science research facility assisting in a range of projects. In my post-graduate degree, I investigated tempo-spatial patterns of growth rate in juvenile plaice around the South-west of England using a range of molecular metrics. I am interested in using molecular techniques to answer questions in marine biology such as examining how marine life is responding to climate change.

MBA icon of a seahorse on a shield

Jules Morley

CPR Survey Workshop Technician

Jules Morley

CPR Survey Workshop Technician

MBA icon of a seahorse on a shield

julmor@mba.ac.uk

Ellie Murphy

Ellie Murphy

PhD Student

Ellie Murphy

PhD Student

Ellie Murphy

ellmur@mba.ac.uk

I am a PhD researcher in the Wheeler Group investigating calcium signalling in marine diatoms. Whilst it is known that calcium signalling is required to respond to stress signals in marine diatoms, the mechanisms by which they do this are largely unknown.

One aspect of my research is to enhance our understanding of calcium signalling mechanisms in the model pennate diatom Phaeodactylum tricornutum. This involves use of fluorescent microscopy to examine the calcium-dependent processes within cells.

A second field on interest is reviewing the calcium signalling toolkit in various diatom species. This ‘toolkit’ comprises the numerous channels and pumps that are involved in calcium signalling pathways. The calcium toolkit varies between species, but few species have been examined in detail. I will be summarising this toolkit over a wider range of species and I hope to uncover some interesting patterns within this data.

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Peter Ockenden

CPR Survey Workshop Assistant (Mechanical)

Peter Ockenden

CPR Survey Workshop Assistant (Mechanical)

MBA icon of a seahorse on a shield

petock@mba.ac.uk

Lorraine Olver

Lorraine Olver, MAAT, AATQB

Finance Manager

Lorraine Olver, MAAT, AATQB

Finance Manager

Lorraine Olver

lorver@mba.ac.uk

Clare Ostle

Dr Clare Ostle

CPR Research Fellow, Coordinator Pacific CPR Survey

Dr Clare Ostle

CPR Research Fellow, Coordinator Pacific CPR Survey

Clare Ostle

claost@mba.ac.uk

I am a marine biogeochemist and the co-ordinator of the Pacific Continuous Plankton Recorder (CPR) Survey. My research covers a range of topics from the marine carbonate system to ocean plastics. I have worked closely with the CPR dataset since my undergraduate project at Swansea University where I analysed changes in copepod abundance and distribution across the North Atlantic. My PhD was based at the University of East Anglia where I investigated how the activity and abundance of plankton may influence the variability of carbon dioxide flux in the North Atlantic. This work led to the development of a method for estimating Net Community Production (NCP) using volunteer ships of opportunity and oxygen optodes and piqued my interest in instrument development and sampling enhancements for the CPR. I have been involved in numerous syntheses reports and working groups, covering topics such as the operationalization of ecological indicators for European marine policy, ocean warming, and ocean acidification. I am an active member in the UK Pelagic Habitat Expert Group, the Global Ocean Acidification Observing Network (GOA-ON), Gulf Watch Alaska and The North Pacific Marine Science Organization (PICES).

Kevin Paxman

Kevin Paxman, BSc, MSc

Data Engineer

Kevin Paxman, BSc, MSc

Data Engineer

Kevin Paxman

kevpax@mba.ac.uk

Photographic Officer Chris Parkes

Chris Parkes

Photographic Officer

Chris Parkes

Photographic Officer

My diverse skills, developed over 23 years of photography, have taken me from shooting in hailstorms in the UK to recording the experiences of those affected by conflict in NE Nigeria. My intimate storytelling makes people the agents of their own stories, and my eye-catching images have helped a wide range of national and international organisations bring their stories to life.

Born in the UK, but raised in South Africa during the last decade of apartheid and a member of the LGBTQIA community, I have developedd a powerful sense of how inequalities impact the human experience. I see visual storytelling as the bridge between empathy and change, that photographers have a moral obligation to depict the stories they tell with dignity and that the enduring popularity of photography makes it one of the core mediums in creating a fairer world.

My imagery often uses strong contrast and controlled lighting, and has been published in a wide range of national and international platfroms.

Dr Trupti Gaikwad

Dr Trupti Prakash Gaikwad

Cell and Molecular Research Technician

Dr Trupti Prakash Gaikwad

Cell and Molecular Research Technician

Dr Trupti Gaikwad

trugai@mba.ac.uk

I joined the Marine Biological Association in October 2019. I am responsible for working with Dr Glen Wheeler with research projects – with help of molecular techniques I develop transgenic lines to understand the physiology of diatoms ( specifically Calcium signalling and redox signalling). My second responsibility is as Laboratory Manager for the Microscopy suites. Here I train and guide new staff and students on high spectral microscopes which involves super resolution confocal microscopes, Laser-capture microdissection and several other microscopes. I also maintain all ERC cultures in the laboratory. I am winner of Asian Women of Achievement Science Award 2020.

Franki Perry

Dr Franki Perry

Sea-going Research Technician

Dr Franki Perry

Sea-going Research Technician

Franki Perry

frpe@mba.ac.uk

I am the Seagoing Research Technician on the RV MBA Sepia and I work with other members of the boat team to deliver research vessel services. These services range from undertaking time-series surveys, to carrying out week long educational programs for universities. I have expertise in the deployment of scientific equipment from marine platforms to gain high quality biological, ecological and oceanographic data for research purposes. Prior joining the Marine Biological Association I worked at the British Antarctic Survey as a post-doctoral research assistant looking at fisheries time-series data. I have a PhD from the University of Southampton investigating long-term trends in Antarctic krill recruitment dynamics. In addition to this I have worked as a scientific diver and ecological consultant for both private businesses and government agencies. As such I have a broad understanding of marine survey techniques and equipment.

Jasmine Ramshaw BSc, MSc

PhD Student

Jasmine Ramshaw BSc, MSc

PhD Student

jasram@mba.ac.uk

I am a first year PhD student researching the ecosystem services provided by seaweed aquaculture. This is a CDT SuMMeR studentship run jointly through the MBA and the University of Plymouth. The project aims to bridge the gap between pure and applied science encouraging a transdisciplinary way of working. I have previously attained a First Class BSc in Biological Sciences, as well as a Distinction (Deans Commendation) grade MSc in Conservation and Biodiversity, both from the University of Exeter. I have also previously worked as a research intern with Red Sea Project, Egypt and as a statistical advisor for Global Reef, Thailand. I am an avid diver and have attained my BSAC Sports Diver qualification. I am excited to be taking the next step in my academic career as a part of the MBA.

MBA icon

Professor Philip (Chris) Reid

Lankester Research Fellow

Professor Philip (Chris) Reid

Lankester Research Fellow

Keanu Rotard BSc MSc

Plankton Analyst

Keanu Rotard BSc MSc

Plankton Analyst

kearot@mba.ac.uk

Nora Salland smiling on rocky shore in a wetsuit holding mask and snorkel

Nora Salland

PhD Student

Nora Salland

PhD Student

Nora Salland smiling on rocky shore in a wetsuit holding mask and snorkel

norsal@mba.ac.uk

I am a marine ecologist and postgraduate researcher in Dr Dan Smale’s group (BEECH – Benthic Ecosystems and Environmental Change). I have a keen interest in kelp forest community structure and the ecosystem services it provides. My research is focused on the effects of climate change stressors (especially ocean warming) on foundation species such as kelps, their associated flora and fauna community, and shifts of species distributions in the NE Atlantic. I will explore resulting physiological responses of kelp to changing conditions on both individuals and population based levels, as well as the impacts on the entire ecosystems. Before starting my PhD in Plymouth in 2019 (enrolled at the University of Southampton, INSPIRE DTP), I studied Biological Sciences (BSc) and Marine Biology (MSc) at the University of Rostock in Germany at the Baltic Sea. I have work experience in Canada, New Zealand and Chile as well as on board of scientific vessels.

Lawrence Sheppard

Dr Lawrence W Sheppard, BA, MSCi, PhD

CPR Survey Research Fellow

Dr Lawrence W Sheppard, BA, MSCi, PhD

CPR Survey Research Fellow

Lawrence Sheppard

lawshe@mba.ac.uk

Kathryn Smith

Dr Katie Smith

Postdoctoral Research Assistant

Dr Katie Smith

Postdoctoral Research Assistant

Kathryn Smith

katsmi@mba.ac.uk

I’m a marine ecologist and my research focuses on understanding how marine communities can adapt to survive in a changing world. I currently work as a Postdoctoral Research Assistant in the Benthic Ecosystems and Environmental Change group supervised by Dr Dan Smale. My current research focuses on improving our understanding of the ecological and socioeconomic impacts of marine heatwaves in global coastal ecosystems.

Over the past >10 years I have worked extensively on examining the impacts of climate change and other environmental stressors on marine species both in the field and in the laboratory. Through past and current projects, I have studied both coastal and offshore environments covering tropical to polar regions.

Dr Emily Southall

Dr Emily Southall

Project Scientific Officer

Dr Emily Southall

Project Scientific Officer

Dr Emily Southall

emisou@mba.ac.uk

I am part of the dynamic multidisciplinary team working on the ERC Ocean DeOxyfish project, aimed at unravelling the complex effects of climate-driven ocean deoxygenation on shark and tuna species. My love of shark behaviour and ecology began with research on basking sharks in 1998 and after joining the MBA in 2001 I have worked on several projects, including one that led to the first long-term, 3D tracks of any pelagic shark species and ultimately contributed to the worldwide protection of basking sharks through CITES and CMS listings. More recently, a collaboration with scientists and the conservation sector in Ireland led to ‘Circles in the sea’, a multi-year study on non-feeding basking shark social behaviour and the discovery of ‘toruses’ which will help inform protection of basking sharks in Irish waters. With a hope to conserve shark species, I am also a member scientist of the Global Shark Movement, a worldwide collaborative initiative consisting of 40 groups from 26 countries that assembles and uses hard-won shark bio-logging data to tackle global anthropogenic pressures such as climate warming and over-fishing.

Rowena Stern

Dr Rowena Stern, PhD

CPR Research Fellow

Dr Rowena Stern, PhD

CPR Research Fellow

Rowena Stern

rost@mba.ac.uk

I am a molecular ecologist, investigating long-term changes in phytoplankton and planktonic microbes, especially harmful algae and Vibrio bacteria that impact marine animals and humans. After completing my degree in Genetics with biotechnology placement in industry, I studied cattle parasites at the University of Glasgow. After two short postdoctoral positions studying molecular aspects of human diseases, I developed a passion for evolution and biodiversity of phytoplankton during a postdoctoral project DNA barcoding dinoflagellates and other algae at the University of British Columbia, Canada. I have continued to study plankton at the CPR survey since 2010. I apply molecular tools to a diverse range of organisms to understand how environmental drivers shape planktonic communities. Using molecular tools that can identify species that cannot be detected with the microscope. Applying this to the longest and extensive plankton archive from the CPR survey dating back to 1960, these provide unique insights into changes in key species at oceanic and relevant scales for better predictions on climate change impacts on marine organisms. I am also involved in science advisory capacity leading the development of indicators for tiny plankton with DEFRA and chair and member of the ICES Working Group for Phytoplankton and Microbial Ecology.

Alexandra Street - Senior Membership Officer

Alexandra Street

Senior Membership Officer

Alexandra Street

Senior Membership Officer

Alexandra Street - Senior Membership Officer

alexa@mba.ac.uk

My role as Senior Membership Officer involves servicing a global membership, developing membership engagement and benefits, supporting Learned Society and governance activities and assisting the FMBA Applications Committee. I additionally provide support to the Events team. Originally from Sweden, I celebrate 20 years at the Marine Biological Association in different administrative roles.

Courtney standing in front of algae collection

Courtney Swink

PhD Student

Courtney Swink

PhD Student

Courtney standing in front of algae collection

couswi@mba.ac.uk

I am a marine microbial ecologist who found her love of research as an undergraduate at the University of South Carolina where I earned my B.S. in Marine Science and Biology. I became interested in working with marine microalgae, microscopic phytoplankton that are important ocean primary producers, during a summer REU with the Scripps Institution of Oceanography.

I am also interested in how we can improve growth of marine microalgae for biotechnology applications, so I studied microbiome community dynamics of large outdoor microalgae raceway ponds for my M.S. research at the Duke University Marine Lab. My interest in algal-bacterial interactions and how they can improve microalgae growth led me to work as a biologist at Lawrence Livermore National Lab for the U.S. Department of Energy.

I am currently pursing my PhD at the MBA and University of Exeter in the Helliwell group where I am studying the molecular mechanisms and prevalence of diatom-antagonistic bacteria.

Claire Taylor

Claire Taylor, BSc (Hons)

CPR Survey Laboratory Manager, Plankton Analyst and NMBAQC Technical Secretary

Claire Taylor, BSc (Hons)

CPR Survey Laboratory Manager, Plankton Analyst and NMBAQC Technical Secretary

Claire Taylor

cmta@mba.ac.uk

I am the Continuous Plankton Recorder (CPR) Laboratory Manager, responsible for managing the analysts’ workloads, ensuring that the programme runs smoothly. I am also a member of the analysis team and have gained considerable taxonomic experience, analysing both CPR and non CPR plankton samples from the Arctic, North Sea, Irish Sea, North Atlantic, Southern Ocean and Pacific. Since 2020, I have taken on the role of Technical Secretary for the NE Atlantic Marine Biological Analytical Quality Control (NMBAQC) Scheme, developed to provide a source of external quality assurance for organisations and laboratories engaged in producing marine biological data. I have gained considerable experience of organising and hosting several international taxonomic workshops and was previously part of the silk production team, producing pairs of high quality silks for the CPR to capture plankton.

Maggie Thomas

Maggie Thomas

Receptionist

Maggie Thomas

Receptionist

Maggie Thomas

reception@mba.ac.uk

I have worked at Citadel Hill for many years, five years initially with PML as a Lab. Technician, after which I took time out to have my two children. I then returned to work for the MBA in the Journal of the Marine Biologicall Association (JMBA) office as Editorial Assistant. I also spent time working in the National Marine Biological Library (NMBL).

I am now the Receptionist at the MBA, and am also a member of the Communications Team. I look forward to welcoming you to the MBA!

PhD student Beth Tindal-Jones smiling sat next to a microscope

Beth Tindall-Jones BSc, MRes

PhD Student

Beth Tindall-Jones BSc, MRes

PhD Student

PhD student Beth Tindal-Jones smiling sat next to a microscope

betjon@mba.ac.uk

I am PhD student working in the Cunliffe group at the MBA and Exeter University. My project is looking into the fundamental biology behind the interactions of marine fungi and macroalgae, establishing and understanding the life cycle of various marine fungi when associated with different types of macroalgae. From this I will also be assessing the biotechnological potential of these interactions. I have always had a passion for marine life from a very young age. This passion has lead me to study Marine Biology at both undergraduate and master’s level at Newcastle and Plymouth University respectively. I am delighted to be continuing with the joy of studying marine life in this next step of my education.

Yousef Touhami

Yousef Touhami

Research Technician

Yousef Touhami

Research Technician

Yousef Touhami

youtou@mba.ac.uk

In my role as a cell and molecular Research Technician, I am working with teams researching marine fungi, phytoplankton and the evolution of early-branching animals. I am particularly experienced at using cell culture based approaches and molecular techniques to investigate biological questions. Furthermore, I am responsible for the MBA’s Marine Fungal Culture Collection.

I have a Bachelor of Science in marine biology and Master of Research in applied marine science from the University of Plymouth.

My undergraduate honours project examined whether differences in immune response between genotypes could influence population dynamics in a Mytilus spp. hybrid zone.

My masters thesis focused on investigating temporal variation in growth and condition of juvenile turbot, Scophthalmus maximus, in nursery habitats around the south west UK.

Harvey Tyler-Walters

Dr Harvey Tyler-Walters

MarLIN Project Manager, Acting Editor

Dr Harvey Tyler-Walters

MarLIN Project Manager, Acting Editor

Harvey Tyler-Walters

htw@mba.ac.uk

I am responsible for the management of contracts and staff involved in MarLIN (Marine Life Information Network) since 1999. In particular, project manager on short and long-term contracts for Defra, Countryside Council for Wales, Natural England, Scottish Natural Heritage, Crown Estates, and WWF-UK. MBA lead on tenders/contracts 2010-2017.
I developed the MarLIN sensitivity assessment for biotopes (1999-2010). I’m responsible for ongoing development as the Marine Evidence-based Sensitivity Assessment (MarESA) approach. I have written reports and papers on the application of sensitivity assessment and sensitivity mapping in conservation and marine spatial planning, together with reports on environmental impacts, in particular, of wind farms, coasteering, and recreational access to coastal habitats. Working on the use of Rapid Evidence Assessment (REA) in sensitivity assessment. Authored, supervised, and/or edited sensitivity reviews of circa 140 marine benthic species and most (circa 400) of UK habitats (biotopes). Responsible for the design and content management of the MarLIN website, CMS, and database. I was the lead author on the EMODNET biological traits hierarchy. I designed a database of ‘environmental solutions’ and port contacts for the ‘ECO-Information in European Ports’ (ECO-INFO) project, and together with the team, the environmental review questionnaire.

Rebekkah Uhl standing in lab coat with research equipment

Rebekka Uhl BSc MRes

Research Assistant

Rebekka Uhl BSc MRes

Research Assistant

Rebekkah Uhl standing in lab coat with research equipment

rebuhl@mba.ac.uk

I am a research technician for the Darwin Tree of Life project and am responsible for collecting, identifying and sometimes culturing marine specimen, as well as carrying out DNA barcoding for molecular identification. I completed my BSc in Biology at the University of St Andrews, where I worked on my dissertation with Prof David Paterson, studying benthic diatom locomotion and how their speed and extracellular polymeric substance composition is influenced by external stressors. Subsequently I completed an MRes where I was working on identifying the function of a carbohydrate processing enzyme, HexD. I moved to Plymouth to satiate my interests in marine biology, working for the husbandry team at the National Marine Aquarium before the MBA. I have a big interest in marine life, in particular the smaller easily missed things that are often spectacular. In my free time, I am also a keen climber and sea swimmer!

  

matt-waller

Matt Waller

PhD Student

Matt Waller

PhD Student

I am a PhD student within the Sims lab at the Marine Biological Association, in conjunction with the University of Southampton, as part of the European Research Council funded project OCEAN DEOXYFISH. My research focuses on the impact declining oxygen in the world’s oceans will have on the biology and ecology of large oceanic shark species. My main interests lie in using satellite tracking technologies to explore how shark behaviour and distributions are altered by changes in their environment and how this may effect shark interactions with human threats, such as fishing.

Before beginning my PhD I competed my bachelor’s and master’s degrees in marine biology with the University of Plymouth. I have also held marine science roles at the United Kingdom Hydrographic Office and several positions in Seychelles, including at the UNESCO world heritage site Aldabra

Dr Joanna Warwick-Dugdale

Post Doctoral Research Assistant

Dr Joanna Warwick-Dugdale

Post Doctoral Research Assistant

joadug@mba.ac.uk

I am fascinated by how communities of the smallest marine organisms (i.e. prokaryotes; algae; viruses) function to drive systems at the largest scales (e.g. global nutrient cycling). Previously I have focused on the characterization of Open Ocean and Coastal viral communities, key players of global biogeochemistry who remain largely underexplored. To accomplish this, I developed a hybrid, long- and short-read viral metagenomic method during my PhD, a NERC DTP with Dr Ben Temperton at the University of Exeter (UoE) and Plymouth Marine Laboratory (PML). During my first post-doctoral position at the UoE I further developed this method to include viral communities that are ‘active’ in host cells and applied it to the investigation of a hypoxic marine environment, work that is highly relevant to the reduction in oxygen levels of ever-growing areas of the Global Ocean. Currently I am conducting Horizon Europe funded research with Professor Michael Cunliffe, investigating temporal and spatial patterns in marine biodiversity of the Western Channel Observatory and other European time series. I will also establish long-read (MinION) sequencing at the MBA and investigate how it could be leveraged for monitoring marine ecosystem change.

Dr Susan Wharam

Dr Susie Wharam

Molecular Biology Technician

Dr Susie Wharam

Molecular Biology Technician

Dr Susan Wharam

suswha@mba.ac.uk

Membership Services Officer Tanya Whipps.

Tanya Whipps

Membership Services Officer

Tanya Whipps

Membership Services Officer

Membership Services Officer Tanya Whipps.

tanwhi@mba.ac.uk

James Whicheloe leaning against the gunwhale of Research Vessel Sepia

James Whicheloe

Research Vessel Crew Member

James Whicheloe

Research Vessel Crew Member

James Whicheloe leaning against the gunwhale of Research Vessel Sepia

jamwhi@mba.ac.uk

Ben Whyte BSc

Seawater and Site Engineer

Ben Whyte BSc

Seawater and Site Engineer

I am responsible for ensuring the effective operation and maintenance and improvement of our unique seawater life support systems, research aquarium and building facilities across the Estate. I have spent the last few years working in aquaculture, learning and gaining esperience in fairly niche and interesting areas of the industry. In my spare time I enjoy diving, underwater and topside photography, but most of all tinkering with cars!

Cat Wilding on the rocky shore smiling

Cat Wilding, BSc, MRes

Senior Research Assistant

Cat Wilding, BSc, MRes

Senior Research Assistant

Cat Wilding on the rocky shore smiling

catwil@mba.ac.uk

I’m a marine ecologist with 6 years’ of research experience in seaweed cultivation, ecology, and restoration, and >15 years’ working with a broader marine research and conservation remit. Through my current role as Senior Research Assistant in the Benthic Ecosystems and Environmental Change group supervised by Dr Dan Smale. I support a dynamic research group of 12 scientists though work as a scientific diver, commercially endorsed skipper, on the rocky shore and in the lab. I have a keen interest in applied research outcomes and enjoy working closely with industry partners. My research focusses optimising seaweed farming in the UK, quantifying the ecosystem services (e.g. habitat provision and CO2 draw down) provided by seaweed farms, and exploring feasibility of kelp forest restoration in a UK context.

I hold a Master’s in Research degree in Marine Biology, and have previously worked for Cornwall Wildlife Trust and the National Lobster Hatchery. I’m passionate about marine conservation, sustainable resource management, and improved marine stewardship. I aim to contribute towards these goals by translating research outcomes into commercial outputs, and showcasing how fascinating and important marine ecosystems are.

David Wilson

David Wilson, LCGI

Ships Liaison Officer

David Wilson, LCGI

Ships Liaison Officer

David Wilson

davwil@mba.ac.uk

Maria in front of the building

Maria Windsor

Finance Assistant

Maria Windsor

Finance Assistant

Maria in front of the building

marwin@mba.ac.uk

Freya_Womersley

Dr Freya Womersley

Postdoctoral Research Scientist

Dr Freya Womersley

Postdoctoral Research Scientist

Freya_Womersley

frewom@mba.ac.uk

I am a conservation biologist currently completing my PhD research in the Sims Lab. My goal is to undertake research that can directly inform policy and sustainable management of marine species and habitats. At the moment my work focuses on exploring how movements and behaviours of pelagic sharks can be integrated into management through an understanding of their interactions with human activities now and in future oceans.

Through my research and professional development I have aimed to collaborate widely and approach topics where conservation and biology/ ecology converge, while fuelling my own passions and interests in the ocean.

Born in the UK, I studied Biological Sciences at undergraduate level at the University of Exeter where I developed an interest in marine ecology.

After my studies, I wanted to experience the ocean first hand and immerse myself in the front lines of conservation. Particularly intrigued by sharks, I first spent time working in Seychelles for a whale shark focussed NGO and then for other projects across the world. Working with local communities and dedicated researchers in the field shaped me into the scientist I am today and led me to continue my MSci and PhD research. 

In my spare time I love to hike, wild camp and swim and to dive.

Marianne Wootton

Marianne Wootton

Senior Plankton Analyst

Marianne Wootton

Senior Plankton Analyst

Marianne Wootton

mawo@mba.ac.uk

I am Senior Plankton Analyst for the Continuous Plankton Recorder (CPR) Survey. Having worked for the organisation as a Plankton Analyst since 2002, I have a wealth of experience in phytoplankton and zooplankton identification from around the world. My taxonomic expertise is regularly used to teach plankton identification to a wide range of learners, from complete beginners to other research scientists.  I am co-author on a plankton guide to the North Atlantic and, in collaboration with the NE Atlantic Marine Biological Analytical Quality Control Scheme (NMBAQC), I am lead developer of an international zooplankton quality assurance scheme. Never one to miss an opportunity to spread my passion for plankton, I give regular talks and interviews on the importance of plankton.

working with us

The MBA is an equal opportunities employer and is committed to equality of opportunity for all staff. Your application is encouraged regardless of age, disability, sex, gender reassignment, sexual orientation, pregnancy and maternity, race, religion or belief and marriage and civil partnerships.


Our facilities

The Citadel Hill Laboratory provides world class facilities for research, training and education in a unique environment. We can provide ship access to the south west coasts; seawater systems; microscopy and molecular laboratories and new training facilities all with the best sea views in Plymouth.