Continuous Plankton Recorder Survey goes the distance to win a Guinness World Record

Posted on Dec 31, 2020

Continuous Plankton Recorder Survey goes the distance to win a Guinness World Record Seventeen times to the moon and back – we’ve set the record for the greatest distance sampled by a marine survey!

Established by Sir Alistair Hardy in 1931, the Continuous Plankton Recorder (CPR) Survey has been collecting information about the health of our oceans, in the form of “plankton sandwiches”, for decades. Now in its 90 th year, the CPR survey have sampled over 7 million nautical miles of ocean – ample to be awarded the Guinness World Record for the greatest distance sampled by a marine survey!

continuous_plankton_recorder_unit.jpg A Continuous Plankton Recorder (CPR) unit.

David Johns, Head of the CPR Survey, said, “We are so proud of receiving a Guinness World Record, to have towed over 7 million miles is incredible, I’m sure Sir Alister Hardy would not...

Applications now open for 2020/2021 Zooplankton Ring Test

Posted on Oct 29, 2020

We are pleased to announce applications are now open to take part in this year's Zooplankton Ring Test

Zooplankton are included in the Marine Strategy Framework Directive (MSFD) as an indicator group; however, until recently, there were few other current standards for their sampling and identification. As such, the Healthy and Biologically Diverse Seas Evidence Group (HBDSEG) identified a need for a quality control mechanism for the correct identification of zooplankton.

The Continuous Plankton Recorder Survey (part of the Marine Biological Association, based in Plymouth, UK) provides a Zooplankton Ring-Test on behalf of the NMBAQC scheme. Held every two years, the ring-test assesses the quality of zooplankton identification through practical tests and additional workshops*.

Encouraging consistency amongst zooplankton analysts, within and between different...

Plankton sampling resumes in Gulf of Maine as survey awarded 4 year funding programme

Posted on Oct 16, 2020

The Continuous Plankton Recorder Survey has been running for nearly 90 years, but scientists hope this new project will help shed light on the significant decline in population numbers of endangered North Atlantic right whales.

This autumn, ships in the Gulf of Maine will once again be towing Continuous Plankton Recorders (CPRs) thanks to a new four year project funded by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) Northeast Fisheries Science Center, hosted by the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution. Each month, CPRs will collect plankton samples from this region, identifying changes in plankton species and distribution. The resulting data will help provide valuable insights into the health of the marine environment and help inform effective management action.

Deploying a CPR at sea Plankton form the base of the marine food chain, providing...

The latest edition of The Marine Biologist magazine: how do we do science and relate to nature in a changing world?

Posted on Oct 15, 2020

Roca Partida in the Revillagigedo National Park, Mexico. Image © Enric Sala.

Bringing you the latest in marine biological research, education, policy, and much more, the MBA's membership magazine The Marine Biologist is for everyone who loves life in the sea. The latest issue is full of great images and exciting and thought-provoking content.


The October edition is all about how we do science and our relationship with nature. We proudly feature TV presenter Paul Rose , who also happens to be Expedition Leader for the National Geographic’s thrilling Pristine Seas project. Paul has years of experience leading exploration and making science possible in the most remote locations. Paul describes his role in the Pristine Seas project and how he has used the enforced pause in expedition activity caused by the COVID-19 pandemic to reflect on our relationship with nature. He offers a set of values which he hopes will...

New MBA research quantifies UK kelp productivity

Posted on Oct 4, 2020

Fundamental understanding of the ecology of kelp forests is lacking in many regions. New MBA research in the journal Scientific Reports addresses this knowledge gap by quantifying the rate of productivity of kelp forests across UK waters.

Fieldwork took place on kelp forests ( Laminaria hyperborea ) at multiple subtidal habitats in the UK spanning 9° of latitude.

The research measured a range of environmental factors and quantified kelp productivity. Lead author Dan Smale and his team showed that net primary productivity was greater in cooler water, (around 1.5 times greater in the northern sites compared to warm southernmost sites) with clear implications for warming seas.

Dr Smale said: "The study shows that these kelp forests are extremely productive and likely to be an important component of inshore carbon cycles, and may play a role in natural...

World misses milestone for biodiversity

Posted on Sep 21, 2020

The Global Biodiversity Outlook 5 report published by the UN Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) is out now. The headline is that the world has missed all 20 of the Aichi biodiversity targets, in what the RSPB describes as “a lost decade for nature”.

In the marine environment, protected areas have increased from 3 – 7%, against a target of 10%. A third of marine fish stocks are overfished – a higher proportion than ten years ago. Unsustainable bycatch of non-target species is still of concern in many fisheries. Plastic pollution continues to increase with largely unknown consequences. The target to maintain the integrity and functioning of coral reefs was missed, with multiple stressors on top of climate change contributing to the degradation of 60% of coral reefs.

The authors of the report point to funding as a particular problem. Funding for activities that...

Report on the marine ecosystems of south west England is out now

Posted on Jul 23, 2020

The South West Marine Ecosystems 2019 Annual Report is now available. The report captures and brings together observations of this English region's spectacular marine life, which have included jellyfish blooms, fish never before seen in south west England, even a swordfish washed ashore in Somerset!

This is the sixth report in the series which represents a substantial collaborative effort by many organisations and individuals.The information is shared with over 650 people on the South-West Marine Ecosystems mailing list.

Many of the region's marine research and conservation bodies contribute information and expertise, but what makes the SWME report unique is that it documents ongoing observations made by the public, for example ad hoc records posted on social media, or through citizen science projects. As Keith Hiscock, lead editor of the report and...