The first issue of the Journal of The Marine Biological Association of the United Kingdom (JMBA), Vol. I, no.1 (1887) was edited by E. Ray Lankester, the first President of the MBA, it contained a list of governors, founders and members of the MBA, an account of the formation of the Association and a detailed description of the building, with floor-plans, as well as an account of the local fishing industry and fishing grounds, with a “fishing map” of Plymouth Sound.
Vol. I, no.2 (1888) provided a report of the opening ceremony of the building, substantial lists of the marine flora and fauna of Plymouth Sound, an account of some local fishes and their eggs, three reports of the recent work of existing marine biological organisations in Scotland and Liverpool, and a catalogue of the early MBA Library. After the appointment of the first Director, G. C. Bourne in June 1888, the Director became responsible for editing the JMBA. Bourne wrote that the Journal was intended “to supply scientific information in an easily comprehensible form to those who are interested in marine fisheries as well as accounts of animal or vegetable morphology” and will contain “abstracts of the scientific work done by the naturalists hiring tables in the Laboratory, notes and correspondence from other fishery and marine stations and abstracts of the most important results obtained by the fisheries commissioners of various Governments”.
The first issues of the JMBA cost 1 shilling, equivalent to £6.45 today after inflation! This compares with a cost to members today of £7.50 per issue for the printed copy. However this is good value since the increases in page numbers per issue, in page size to A4, smaller margins and type mean that each issue now contains nine times the amount of information.
“As a learned society journal, the JMBA continues to support and serve the marine biological community by disseminating fundamental research in marine biology” says MBA deputy director Matt Frost. After 100 volumes the JMBA is now more diverse than ever, integrating research on marine environmental health alongside human health and well-being, and accepting submissions from all around the world.
Read the 100th volume here.
Orton, J. H. 1920. Sea-temperature, breeding and distribution in marine animals. Journal of the Marine Biological Association of the United Kingdom 12: 339-366.
Dando, P. R. and Southward, E. C. (submitted) The history of the Journal of the Marine Biological Association of the United Kingdom and the influence of the publication on marine research. Journal of the Marine Biological Association of the United Kingdom