The UK's first National Marine Park is now a reality

Posted on Oct 8, 2019

Representatives from the business, science, local government, conservation agencies, and NGOs gathered on Friday to take the next step towards the establishment of a National Marine Park off Plymouth.

A boat trip on Friday for representatives around Plymouth Sound in warm September sunshine preceded a ceremony at the Lord Mayor's residence at which a Statement of Intent for the National Marine Park was signed.

Anglers, recreational sailors, commercial fishers, port operations, the Naval dockyard, strollers on the waterfront - many of the various uses of the estuary and coastal waters were on display, all set against the abundant natural beauty for which Plymouth Sound is famous.


People and marine environment in Plymouth Sound, the site of the new National Marine Park.

Less well-known is the abundance and diversity of Plymouth's...

Prestigious Future Leaders Fellowship for MBA researcher

Posted on Sep 18, 2019

UKRI Future Leaders Fellowships award announcement

A research scientist at the MBA has been awarded a prestigious Future Leaders Fellowship as part of a new scheme funded by UK Research and Innovation (UKRI).

The scheme aims to establish the careers of world-class research and innovation leaders across UK business and academia, and offers significant funding to address a critically important issue.

Dr Dan Smale, a marine ecologist at the MBA, was awarded an FLF to study the impacts of rapid ocean warming on marine ecosystems globally. The project will involve running innovative warming experiments on a range of organisms, as well as analysing existing datasets and conducting surveys and experiments in different marine habitats.

Dr Smale said, “I’m delighted and honoured to be awarded this prestigious fellowship and look forward to...

Oceans of Open Data

Posted on Sep 18, 2019

The world-famous Continuous Plankton Recorder (CPR) Survey, based at the Marine Biological Association, celebrates the 88 th anniversary of the first CPR tow this week and is pleased to announce the biggest release of open data in its history.

The datasets, along with an open, online portal for visualisation and download of the data allows everyone to view and access this unique source of data on marine plankton, the foundation of life in the sea.

This initial release of data contains taxa that have been consistently recorded since 1958. During this time period, other taxa have been added and/or counting methods changed (such as the inclusion of coccolithophores, speciation of Dinophysis ), as new scientific questions have arisen. To facilitate ease of use, these taxa are currently not included in the data release, but are available upon request.


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

Posted on Sep 16, 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 this second episode, the Press Gang interview Professor Willie Wilson , Director of the MBA.

Get ready for a journey into the world of viruses in this wide-ranging and infectious discussion. Expect virus philosophy, autoclave mishaps, the etiquette of mixing beer and whisky, and some VERY big numbers!


Follow @MBAPressGang on Twitter

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...