North Atlantic Ocean productivity has dropped 10 per cent during Industrial era

Posted on May 20, 2019

Research from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) suggests that planktonic stocks in the subarctic Atlantic have been declining steadily over the past 200 years in response to climate forcing.

In a paper published today in Nature , Matthew Osman, the paper’s lead author and a graduate student in MIT’s Department of Earth, Atmospheric, and Planetary Sciences and the MIT/WHOI Joint Program in Oceanography, tracked the decline by measuring the levels of a substance called methanesulphonic acid or MSA, in ice cores from Greenland.

Phytoplankton blooms put chemicals into the atmosphere, some of which decay into MSA which is subsequently deposited across the region on land and sea. When locked in layers of ice, these chemicals produce a unique record of phytoplankton productivity over time.

The MBA's David Johns said: "This recent article uses...

A new collaborative project involving MBA scientists will focus on sustainable management of kelp ecosystems in South America

Posted on May 20, 2019

Structure, connectivity and resilience of an exploited kelp ecosystem: towards sustainable ecosystem-based fisheries management

NERC-funded researchers have begun a series of collaborative projects with partners in Argentina, Brazil, Chile and Peru to develop understanding of the social and economic role of biodiversity in Latin America, and how it can be managed more sustainably. One of the four projects will focus on kelp ecosystems and will provide underpinning scientific knowledge to support sustainable ecosystem-based fisheries management.

The collaborative 3-year project involving a multi-disciplinary team of researchers from the UK, Chile and Peru, including the MBA's Dan Smale , will commence with a kick-off meeting and visits to study sites at the end of May. The project will examine the ecological structure and functioning of...

May 2019 YMB Blog

Posted on May 16, 2019

world ocean day for schools
Welcome to the May 2019 YMB Blog!

Hello YMB Members! As promised, the return of the YMB Blog brings some exciting opportunities for you. Whether you have just joined and are new to the community, and whether you are 6 or 16 years old, there is something for everyone so make sure you continue reading to find out more.

And remember, we would love you to contribute to the content of this blog as much as possible. Please share your stories, reports, finds and photos with us. Sharing your photos, writing, art work comments or questions with us for use in future blog content and bulletins may earn you an exclusive MBA pin badge! (see picture) email to: ymb@mba.ac.uk

World Ocean Day for Schools

Dive in. Discover. Celebrate. Kickstart a conversation in your school wherever you are on World Ocean Day.

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New study reveals that marine diatoms have evolved novel signalling mechanisms for environmental sensing

Posted on May 8, 2019

New research from the Helliwell , Wheeler , Brownlee groups sheds light onto how diatoms, an important group of marine phytoplankton, are able to sense their external environment and provides new insights into the evolution of electrical excitability in eukaryotes more generally. Diatoms exhibit electrical activity in the form of fast all-or-nothing action potentials, which closely resemble those found in animal nerves and muscles. However, while action potentials are vital for communication in nerves and muscles, their roles and underlying cellular mechanisms in unicellular photosynthetic cells are poorly understood.

The new study by Helliwell and Chrachri et al ., published in this week’s issue of Current Biology demonstrates that diatoms generate action potentials via a novel class of ion channels: EukCatAs. By using cutting-edge techniques for targeted...

North Atlantic Ocean productivity has dropped 10 percent during Industrial era

Posted on May 7, 2019

Research from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) suggests that planktonic stocks in the subarctic Atlantic have been declining steadily over the past 200 years in response to climate forcing.

In a paper published today in Nature , Matthew Osman, the paper’s lead author and a graduate student in MIT’s Department of Earth, Atmospheric, and Planetary Sciences and the MIT/WHOI Joint Program in Oceanography, tracked the decline by measuring the levels of a substance called methanesulphonic acid or MSA, in ice cores from Greenland.

Phytoplankton blooms put chemicals into the atmosphere, some of which decay into MSA which is subsequently deposited across the region on land and sea. When locked in layers of ice, these chemicals produce a unique record of phytoplankton productivity over time.

The MBA's David Johns said: "This recent article uses...

The rise in ocean plastics evidenced from 60 years of data

Posted on May 7, 2019

Scientists at the Marine Biological Association and the University of Plymouth are first to confirm a significant increase in open-ocean plastics in recent decades.

Plastics threaten the ocean environment with impacts on marine organisms, economies and human wellbeing. In a research paper published today in the journal Nature Communications, researchers present 60 years of data collected over 6.5 million nautical miles from the North Atlantic, showing a significant increase in larger plastic items such as bags, rope and netting (macroplastics) from 1957 to 2016.

The findings are based on records of when plastics have become entangled on a towed marine sampler (the Continuous Plankton Recorder or CPR). The CPR device is towed in surface waters and occupies a similar space to a marine mammal, and therefore is impacted by entanglements in a similar way....

Understanding our ancestors: new research uses marine model organisms to advance our understanding of how animals evolved

Posted on May 6, 2019

A new Marine Biological Association study in collaboration with researchers at the University of California, Berkeley has reconstructed detailed 3D images of cells that represent the closest cousins of the animals. This new work peels back the mysteries of how cells differentiated leading to the appearance of animals.

The research, published in PLoS Biology and led by MBA research student Davis Laundon , focused on choanoflagellates, a type of microscopic aquatic organism that is the closest single-celled relative of animals. Choanoflagellates are a free-living form of ‘collar cell’, a type of cell found within many kinds of animals from sponges to starfish, and can exist as single cells and in multicellular form. Studying the structure of the choanoflagellate collar cell can therefore shed light on how animal multicellularity and cell differentiation may have...