Government announces designation of 41 new marine protected areas

Posted on Jun 25, 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...

Disturbing decline in West Philippine Sea coral reef diversity revealed

Posted on Jun 12, 2019

Marine Science Institute researchers and Philippine Navy divers work together to conduct the surveys in the West Philippine Sea, photo credit: Edwin Dumalagan

A recent paper by Timothy Quimpo and colleagues, published in the Journal of the Marine Biological Association of the United Kingdom (JMBA), has revealed that coral reefs in the West Philippine Sea (WPS) have low abundance and diversity of corals and fish. Even the deeper areas of the reefs, the upper mesophotic coral ecosystems that are presumed to be buffered from disturbances, showed similar benthic and coral assemblage composition as the shallow water reefs, suggesting that both depths are vulnerable to disturbances.

The West Philippine Sea is a biodiversity hotspot and known source of fish and corals for reefs in surrounding countries. With the declining condition of WPS reefs, the abundance and diversity of fish and corals on other reefs could also be affected. This calls for regional efforts for better management and conservation of the area.


Upcoming Training Courses at the MBA

Posted on May 29, 2019

We are running a programme of exciting training courses for marine science professionals, educators and naturalists. All of our courses are delivered by experienced professionals and include a generous discount for MBA members, so please consider joining the MBA if you haven’t already.

Safety & Safeguarding at the Water's Edge June 11th – 12th Short Course: Introduction to British Crab Identification July 4th Marine Science Education Training Weekend (FREE COURSE) July 13th -14th Short Course: Introduction to British Anemones and Corals October 12th Effective teaching, training and presenting for marine scientists November 19 th -21 st (enquire for further details) Short Course: An introduction to Scientific Illustration November 30th – December 1st

All of these courses...

North Atlantic Ocean productivity has dropped 10 per cent during Industrial era

Posted on May 20, 2019

Research from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) suggests that planktonic stocks in the subarctic Atlantic have been declining steadily over the past 200 years in response to climate forcing.

In a paper published today in Nature , Matthew Osman, the paper’s lead author and a graduate student in MIT’s Department of Earth, Atmospheric, and Planetary Sciences and the MIT/WHOI Joint Program in Oceanography, tracked the decline by measuring the levels of a substance called methanesulphonic acid or MSA, in ice cores from Greenland.

Phytoplankton blooms put chemicals into the atmosphere, some of which decay into MSA which is subsequently deposited across the region on land and sea. When locked in layers of ice, these chemicals produce a unique record of phytoplankton productivity over time.

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A new collaborative project involving MBA scientists will focus on sustainable management of kelp ecosystems in South America

Posted on May 20, 2019

Structure, connectivity and resilience of an exploited kelp ecosystem: towards sustainable ecosystem-based fisheries management

NERC-funded researchers have begun a series of collaborative projects with partners in Argentina, Brazil, Chile and Peru to develop understanding of the social and economic role of biodiversity in Latin America, and how it can be managed more sustainably. One of the four projects will focus on kelp ecosystems and will provide underpinning scientific knowledge to support sustainable ecosystem-based fisheries management.

The collaborative 3-year project involving a multi-disciplinary team of researchers from the UK, Chile and Peru, including the MBA's Dan Smale , will commence with a kick-off meeting and visits to study sites at the end of May. The project will examine the ecological structure and functioning of...

May 2019 YMB Blog

Posted on May 16, 2019

world ocean day for schools
Welcome to the May 2019 YMB Blog!

Hello YMB Members! As promised, the return of the YMB Blog brings some exciting opportunities for you. Whether you have just joined and are new to the community, and whether you are 6 or 16 years old, there is something for everyone so make sure you continue reading to find out more.

And remember, we would love you to contribute to the content of this blog as much as possible. Please share your stories, reports, finds and photos with us. Sharing your photos, writing, art work comments or questions with us for use in future blog content and bulletins may earn you an exclusive MBA pin badge! (see picture) email to:

World Ocean Day for Schools

Dive in. Discover. Celebrate. Kickstart a conversation in your school wherever you are on World Ocean Day.


New study reveals that marine diatoms have evolved novel signalling mechanisms for environmental sensing

Posted on May 8, 2019

New research from the Helliwell , Wheeler , Brownlee groups sheds light onto how diatoms, an important group of marine phytoplankton, are able to sense their external environment and provides new insights into the evolution of electrical excitability in eukaryotes more generally. Diatoms exhibit electrical activity in the form of fast all-or-nothing action potentials, which closely resemble those found in animal nerves and muscles. However, while action potentials are vital for communication in nerves and muscles, their roles and underlying cellular mechanisms in unicellular photosynthetic cells are poorly understood.

The new study by Helliwell and Chrachri et al ., published in this week’s issue of Current Biology demonstrates that diatoms generate action potentials via a novel class of ion channels: EukCatAs. By using cutting-edge techniques for targeted...