The Marine Biological Association awarded £1.35-million Wolfson grant towards a new Marine Microbiome Centre of Excellence.

Posted on Jul 10, 2020

Artist impression of laboratory internal space. Copyright Burwell Architects.

The Marine Biological Association has been awarded a £1.35-million Wolfson grant towards a new Marine Microbiome Centre of Excellence.

This new world-class research centre will focus on the vast and diverse microscopic world of the ocean to help understand ocean health and the impacts of climate change.

The funding will contribute towards this ambitious infrastructure investment. The Wolfson Foundation support organisations that create, preserve and disseminate knowledge.

Paul Ramsbottom, Chief Executive of the Wolfson Foundation said: “ We were enormously impressed by the quality of the current research at the MBA, and the ambition to create world-class research infrastructure to match. The broad area of marine biology could scarcely be of greater importance at the current moment, and we are delighted to...

MBA microscopy image takes first prize in the Hilda Canter-Lund 2020 image competition

Posted on Jul 10, 2020

Image of a Coscinodiscus diatom isolated from a seawater sample taken in the English Channel (UK).

Davis Laundon's image of diatom has bagged first prize in the Hilda Canter-Lund 2020 image competition .

Davis is a MBA PhD student in the Cunliffe Group applying quantitative microscopy tools to investigate the cell biology of aquatic protists. Currently, Davis is investigating the interactions between marine protists and diatoms.

This award was established by the British Phycological Society in recognition of Hilda Canter-Lund, whose stunning photographs will be known to many members. Her photomicrographs of freshwater algae combined high technical and aesthetic qualities whilst still capturing the quintessence of the organisms she was studying.The BPS Council offers an annual award (presently £250) for a photograph on a phycological theme that best combines these informative, technical and aesthetic qualities. It can be of a micro- or macroalga,...

Are patterns of abundance across geographical ranges a predictor for responses to climate change?

Posted on Jul 2, 2020

The beadlet anemone, Actinia equina, one of the invertebrate species studied in this research.

Patterns of abundance across geographical ranges as a predictor for responses to climate change: Evidence from UK rocky shores

Read this new, Open Access paper in the journal Diversity and Distributions , in which Nova Mieszkowska is the MBA's Principal Investigator.

Understanding patterns in the abundance of species across thermal ranges can give useful insights into the potential impacts of climate change. The abundant‐centre hypothesis suggests that species will reach peak abundance at the centre of their thermal range where conditions are optimal, but evidence in support of this hypothesis is mixed and limited in geographical and taxonomic scope. We tested the applicability of the abundant‐centre hypothesis across a range of intertidal organisms using a large, citizen science‐generated data set.

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...