Tiny probes measure cell surface pH in diatoms

Posted on Jan 10, 2018

© Marine Biological Association

Epifluorescence microscopy of the large marine diatom Odontella sinensis showing the arrangement of the chloroplasts.

Marine diatoms contribute significantly to photosynthesis in our oceans and act as the base of the food chain in many of the most productive fisheries. The process of photosynthesis in phytoplankton is affected by cell size, as the rate at availability of carbon dioxide (CO 2 ) is much lower around large diffusion-limited cells.

To investigate how large marine phytoplankton, such as diatoms, overcome the problems of diffusion limitation, scientists at the MBA have developed techniques to measure the concentrations of inorganic carbon at the surface of individual diatom cells. By using tiny ion-selective microelectrodes, the research team were able to measure pH, oxygen and carbonate ion concentrations around the large diatom Odontella sinensis during photosynthesis. The results indicate that photosynthesis leads to dramatic changes in pH at the cell surface of...

US scientist uses MBA mesocosm to investigate invasive species

Posted on Jan 5, 2018

The Mieszkowska Group © Marine Biological Association

A visiting researcher from the University of Alabama at Birmingham is collaborating with MBA scientists and using research facilities at the Plymouth laboratory to advance our knowledge of how and why invasive species spread.

Dr Stacy Krueger-Hadfield is carrying out a mescocosm experiment with the Mieszkowska lab at the MBA, as part of her project Ecological niche partitioning can stabilize and uncouple biphasic life cycles under different environmental condition s.

To find out more, follow her on Twitter @quooddy

Dr Krueger-Hadfield won a Ray Lankester Investigatorship for the project. Ray Lankester Fellowships are intended to provide opportunities for established researchers to work at the Laboratory of the Marine Biological Association in Plymouth. Read more information on awards and grants .

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Dr Stacy Krueger-Hadfield. On...

A giant squid (Architeuthis dux) off Reunion Island, western Indian Ocean: the greatest giant ever?

Posted on Jan 5, 2018

Giant squid © Thibaut Thellier

Evgeny Romanov, one of the authors of ‘ A giant squid (Architeuthis dux) off Reunion Island, western Indian Ocean: the greatest giant ever? ‘ recently published in the Journal of the Marine Biological Association of the United Kingdom , provides us further insight into this research in his blog .

Access the full paper for free until 31st January 2018. (Click the 'View HTML' button on the JMBA page for access)

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ASSEMBLE+ announces first call for access to marine infrastructure

Posted on Jan 3, 2018

ASSEMBLE Plus flyer

The MBA is a partner in the Horizon 2020 Research Infrastructures project ASSEMBLE Plus (Association of European Marine Biological Laboratories Expanded). This European Marine Biological Resource Centre (EMBRC) led project brings together 32 marine stations and institutes from some 16 countries. The aims of ASSEMBLE Plus, achieved though Access, Networking and Joint Research activities, is to ultimately increase long-term sustainability of the partner marine stations and institutes.

The H2020 ASSEMBLE+ project call for access to marine infrastructures for research projects .

Under the Access activities, the first open call for access to marine infrastructures has been announced. Under this call the MBA is offering on-site Access to the following platforms and installations:

ecosystems in the vicinity of the MBA laboratory via our research vessel MBA Sepia...

MBA member awarded an OBE

Posted on Jan 2, 2018

Richard Thomson © Plymouth University

A member of the Marine Biological Association has been awarded an OBE in recognition of his research into marine pollution by plastics.

Professor Richard Thomson highlighted the presence of microplastic (coining the now familiar term) in the ocean in a paper in the journal Science ( Lost at sea: where is all the plastic? ). Subsequent work showed the extent to which microplastics could be ingested and their potential to transport pollutants into organisms.

He is a natural communicator and advocate, moving beyond the results of research to propose and promote potential solutions to the plastic problem. Watch his talk on microplastics at the Marine Biological Association in 2016.

Find out more at Plymouth University's website .

If you are interested in becoming part the marine biological community, join the MBA .

€1.9m to open the ‘black box’ of marine fungi

Posted on Dec 22, 2017

Marine mycoplankton

MBA Research Fellow and Lecturer in Marine Microbiology at the University of Plymouth, Dr Michael Cunliffe, is among 329 top researchers across Europe who have been awarded Consolidator Grants, the European Research Council (ERC) announced yesterday .

Fungi are the great decomposers, breaking down complex organic material and making it available for growth, but they aren’t just found in the woods. The MYCO-CARB (FUNCTIONAL BIOLOGY AND ECOLOGY OF PLANKTONIC MARINE FUNGI – Revealing the mechanistic basis of the roles of mycoplankton in the marine carbon cycle) research programme, led by the MBA, has received €1.9m to fill the gap in our understanding of fungi in the sea.

The roles that marine planktonic fungi (mycoplankton) fulfil in marine ecosystems have been largely ignored compared to other plankton groups, such as phytoplankton. Until we understand how mycoplankton...

Molecular mechanism of proteins involved in animal cell signalling characterized

Posted on Dec 22, 2017

A new article in the Journal of Biological Chemistry : "Evidence for a conserved inhibitory binding mode between the membrane fusion assembly factors Munc18 and syntaxin in animals" by Pawel Burkhardt , Research Fellow at the MBA in collaboration with Dirk Fasshauer from the Université de Lausanne decribes the precise mode of interaction between membrane fusion factors involved in secretory vesicle trafficking.

Read the abstract here .