MPAs around England and Northern Ireland protect habitats that support resilience to climate change: new JNCC report

Posted on Jun 30, 2020

Foreland Point in the Studland Bay Marine Conservation Zone, on the south coast of Dorset in the eastern English Channel. Image © Guy Baker.

Earlier this month, the Joint Nature Conservation Committee (JNCC) released their report ‘ Developing the evidence-base to support climate-smart decision-making on MPAs ’ on the finding of the Defra-funded Climate-smart MPAS project

JNCC was commissioned by Defra to develop the evidence base around climate-smart decision-making in Marine Protected Areas (MPAs). The first phase of this work was a project analysing the role of MPAs and their protected features in mitigating the impacts of climate change (e.g. through the sequestration of carbon).

Working with the Marine Biological Association (MBA), the sensitivity of high priority MPA protected features to climate-related pressures was assessed and presented on the Marine Life Information Network (MarLIN) website. As part of this project, sensitivity assessments were undertaken for 36 high priority biotopes related to...

CPR Survey featured in The Guardian newspaper

Posted on Jun 29, 2020

The MBA's Continuous Plankton Recorder (CPR) Survey featured recently in The Guardian newspaper.

The national news article introduced the CPR as a 'vast marine mission' that has 'allowed scientists to see dramatic patterns in ocean health, across both time and space, building a much clearer picture of how our marine environments are changing'.

Here at the MBA, we are celebrating the continued success of the CPR survey during the Covid-19 era and the collaborative efforts of the CPR Operations team and shipping industry.

The article marks a major milestone for the CPR survey as it clocked up 7 million nautical miles of data collection. This staggering figure equates to nearly 17 round trips to the moon! On the 17th June at 21:55 the MS Norrona ( Smyril Lines ) towed a continuous plankton recorder through this incredible...

New MBA research: evolutionary and adaptive insights into single-cell, microscopic fungi

Posted on Jun 24, 2020

Chytrids are widespread, single-cell, microscopic fungi that are important parasites of other organisms and degraders of complex organic matter in aquatic ecosystems. They attach to substrates and feed using filamentous outgrowths called rhizoids. In this study, we show that chytrid rhizoids are remarkably similar to hyphae in multi-cellular fungi, suggesting a linked evolutionary origin. We also show that chytrid rhizoids are highly adaptative, able to change shape in response to variation in substrate availability. Together, our study sheds new light on fungal evolution and the biology of chytrids.

The research, led by Davis Laundon of the Marine Microbial Biogeochemistry research group was published today in Proceedings of The Royal Society B .

MBA Senior Research Fellow Michael Cunliffe said, “This outstanding research from Davis Laundon’s PhD utilises...

Climate change drives summer nutrient decrease and reduces productivity on the NE Atlantic continental shelf, new study says.

Posted on Jun 8, 2020

A widespread decline in summer abundance of the most nutritious plankton types across the north-east Atlantic continental shelf is affecting animals higher up the food web such as fish, marine mammals, and seabirds, says a new study published today in the journal Global Change Biology .

A change from cloudy, wetter summers to hotter, drought conditions leads to earlier onset and increased stability of the warm surface layer in shelf waters. These conditions lead to persistent sub-optimal conditions for larger omega-3 rich phytoplankton, and favour smaller, less nutritious picophytoplankton, especially the cyanobacterium Synechococcus . This change negatively impacts the success of the copepod community, and propagates throughout the food web. This trend has been observed over the last 60 years.

A new study published today in the journal Global...

Celebrating the UN Decade on Ecosystem Restoration, 2021 - 2030

Posted on May 13, 2020

Introduction

" The United Nations Decade on Ecosystem Restoration 2021–2030 was conceived as a means of highlighting the need for greatly increased global cooperation to restore degraded and destroyed ecosystems, contributing to efforts to combat climate change and safeguard biodiversity, food security, and water supply ".

The latest edition of The Marine Biologist is dedicated to the UN decade, and in celebration of this we are making articles from the magazine freely available online. Furthermore, we a launching a new online initiative: ' The Marine Biologist Deep Dive ' (see below), an online Q&A session with authors to discuss the topic of their articles in more detail.

The articles illustrate two very different aspects of marine ecosystem restoration: coral reef restoration and...

Marine biologist recognised by European funding for pioneering research

Posted on May 13, 2020

New smart-tag technology grant awarded to measure ocean predator physiology and distributions.

A marine scientist at the Marine Biological Association of the UK (MBA) Laboratory in Plymouth, UK, has been awarded a prestigious European Research Council (ERC) Advanced Grant to fund cutting edge research that addresses climate change impacts on threatened ocean predators.

The ERC Advanced awards are funded through the EU and are worth up to €2.5M, enabling established top researchers to explore their most creative, high-risk ideas, and leading to the creation of jobs including scientific and technical support positions.

The grant has been awarded to Professor David Sims, a Senior Research Fellow at the MBA and professor at the University of Southampton, with the aim to understand how large, active predators such as sharks and tuna will be...

Win-wins from seaweed and bivalve aquaculture

Posted on May 1, 2020

Restorative aquaculture projects in Southwest England

The latest edition of our membership magazine, The Marine Biologist celebrates the United Nations Decade on Ecosystem Restoration 2021–2030. Restorative aquaculture can have benefits for both humans and the environment, and here we present a brief summary of two sea farming projects in Southwest England illustrating intentional cultivation of seaweed and mussels.

1. Sustainable seaweed aquaculture

The Marine Biological Association’s Cat Wilding is our Senior Project Officer on a collaborative project with the University of Exeter , Plymouth Marine Laboratory , Cornish Seaweed Company , Westcountry Mussels of Fowey , and Hortimare to help establish environmentally and commercially sustainable seaweed aquaculture, with support from the European Maritime and Fisheries Fund ....