On the occasion of the 100th birthday of James Lovelock

Posted on Jul 26, 2019

Today, 26th July is James Lovelock’s 100 th birthday!

Professor Willie Wilson said: “ Professor Lovelock has been associated with the Marine Biological Association since 1982, first as a Council member, then as its President from 1986 to 1990, and finally as an Honorary Fellow since 2014. I admire his entrepreneurial views and deep thinking on planetary science issues. In particular, I have always advocated for his Gaia hypothesis, and I often use this theory when trying to convince audiences how marine viruses influence the weather! Therefore, it is an absolute honour to be invited to Professor Lovelock’s centenary birthday celebration on 26 th July at the Orangery, Blenheim Palace; where hopefully I will finally get a chance to meet him.”

By way of celebrating this, we invited Professor Michael Whitfield – MBA Director & Secretary from 1987 to...

Industrialised fishing overlaps threatened shark hotspots worldwide

Posted on Jul 26, 2019

A ground-breaking study led by MBA scientists and published in the journal Nature reports that large sharks – some of which are already endangered globally – face a future with limited spatial refuge from industrial longline fishing effort, even in the remotest parts of the ocean.

Regional declines in abundance of some populations such as shortfin mako shark – the fastest shark in the sea – have led to widespread calls for catch limits in the High Seas (areas beyond national jurisdiction; ABNJ) where there is currently little or no management for sharks.

Where in the vast expanse of the oceans do sharks aggregate? How much fishing takes place in those chosen habitats? This knowledge is lacking, even though it will be crucial to selecting sites to conserve sharks.

The Movement ecology and conservation of marine predators...

Eight urgent, fundamental steps needed to restore ocean health, avert ecological catastrophe, says new scientific paper

Posted on Jul 26, 2019

© silas baisch

A new scientific paper says eight urgent and simultaneous actions are needed to head off ecological disaster, and that failure to undertake these actions in the next ten years will lead to ecological catastrophe and disruption of human civilisation.

Any doubt about the importance of the ocean for supporting ecosystems and human wellbeing should be dispelled by the study, published today in the journal Aquatic Conservation .

The Paper says: “We are witnessing an increase in ocean heat, disturbance, acidification, bio-invasions and nutrients, and reducing oxygen. Several of these act like ratchets: once detrimental or negative changes have occurred, they may lock in place and may not be reversible, especially at gross ecological and ocean process scales.”

The paper came out of a workshop held at the Royal Geographical Society in London in...

NEW! 'The viral teaspoon' is a podcast by the MBA Press Gang about life, science and everything

Posted on Jul 22, 2019

The viral teaspoon is a podcast led by the MBA’s Press Gang that focuses on current issues in marine science, what life is like as a research student (and how to get over that fearful imposter syndrome!) and how some of their favourite faces here at the MBA got to where they are now.

In the inaugural episode, the team discuss everything from their own research projects to the hidden tunnels of the MBA, and discover that charismatic mega-fauna is not the way to every marine biologist’s heart!


Government announces designation of 41 new marine protected areas

Posted on Jul 11, 2019

The government has announced the designation of a third and final phase of new marine protected areas. These Marine Conservation Zones (MCZs) are areas that protect a range of nationally important, rare or threatened habitats and species.

Forty-one sites and 12 additional features were designated on 31 May 2019. These designations will fulfil the remit of the Marine and Coastal Access Act and essentially completes the UK Blue Belt, and the governments contribution to the ecologically coherent network in the North East Atlantic in terms of the representation of species and habitats.

Similar schemes are operating in Wales , Scotland and Northern Ireland to contribute to a UK-wide network of marine protected areas.

See the full list of English MCZs

See the governments guidance note on Marine Conservation Zones .

Visit the JNCC website for more...

MBA student wins best poster presentation at international conference

Posted on Jul 10, 2019

An MBA student has won the best student poster presentation at an international conference.

Arianna Liconti won a scholarship from Copernicus publications to attend the IMBER Future Oceans 2 conference which took place at Brest, France from 17-21 June. She is currently studying for a MRes in Marine Biology with the Marine Biodiversity and Climate Change group.

Arianna won the best student poster presentation with her poster: Science for the future: citizen science in marine research and conservation , coming top in a field of over 60 international participants. She said "It was a huge honour for me to win this award and I believe it also highlights the international validity of the outstanding work of the Marine Biological Association in developing and running marine citizen science projects, particularly regarding the success of the ‘Capturing our Coast’...

MBA at the Devon County Show!

Posted on Jun 26, 2019

devon county show

The Devon County Show is a large event with an estimated 100,000 visitors between the 16 th and the 18 th of May. The event boasted an Ocean Discovery Zone, organised by Sea Dream Education CIC with stands, activities and artworks by a range of marine organisations including the MBA (Marine Biological Association).

Our work focussed on the weird and wonderful plankton in our ocean. After seeing the inner workings of a CPR (Continuous Plankton Recorder) , children and adults were tasked with drawing what they believe we catch using our CPRs (pictured). The imagination of those who took part produced plankton that were astoundingly similar to those that are found in Plymouth Sound.

We also had live plankton from Plymouth Sound under microscopes, where there was lots of interesting plankton to see. One particular highlight was a spinning epitoke, the reproductive organ...