Welcome to the October YMB Blog!

Hello and welcome to the October YMB Blog! We hope you enjoyed reading last month’s stories? This month we have not only the usual exciting marine biology news and our second YMB Member Article for you but also some new features we hope you will enjoy such a species highlights section and some festive news. Continue reading to find out more.

badges, pins, mba, drawing,

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: ymb@mba.ac.uk or share with us on FacebookTwitter or Instagram

Latest Marine Biology News

There has been some really interesting topics in the news over the past month. Here are some highlights of what the marine biology community has been talking about over the past month:

  • On the 22nd September, scientists solved an old mistery in California (USA) that turned out to be a singing fish! The Midshipman fish got their name because of its appearance and has now been found to hum at night to attract a mate. Read more on this story here.
  • On the 30th September, the world’s deepest underwater cave yet was found in the Czech Republic. The cave is thought to be at least 404 metres (1,325ft) deep, near the eastern town of Hranice. Find out more about this exciting find here.
  • On the 10th October, the methods used by fish to communicate were yet again featured in the news. This time, scientists reported that cod may have regional accents, which might have potential implications on the success of individuals migrating as a result of climate change. Find out why here.
  • Do you remember the discipline of biomimicry that we mentioned in the last bulletin? Scientists continue to look for solutions and inspiration to help solve problems in our everyday lives in nature. Recent research is exploring the healing potential of crab shells in biomedical applications that enhance bone regeneration, wound healing and targeted drug delivery; and how miniature robo-mussels are being used to help monitor climate change in the marine environment.

SCUBA diver exploring deep underwater

YMB Member Article: Henry Follett meets the ray expert and visits the MBA

“Hi I’m Henry, age 10, from Lytham in Lancashire and have been on holiday all summer in Plymouth.
At the great Rad World of Rays Beach Ranger event, I asked the scientist, Sam Simpson, and the beach rangers if I could come and visit the MBA.
I got an email the next day inviting me to come along for a tour and was really happy and excited.
The MBA is in a really old building that overlooks the sea and was founded in 1884. Sam Simpson met us and we went downstairs to the basement where all the tanks are. We saw rays and sea worms as well as other marine creatures that were being studied. My favourite was the cuckoo ray (see picture).
We also discussed things that Sam had studied and we looked at other scientific studies on the walls, there was an interesting one about cuttlefish.
Sam told us how during the war the scientists had gone down the tunnel that runs under the building at the MBA to make sure that everything survived, there is even a scientist’s coat with melted lead on it! They refused to leave because they were worried about the sea creatures.
The following week I went back to visit Emily who had offered to show me the library and archives.
The library is really great and has a lovely area to sit in and read the books or look at the objects that are in the library like really old microscopes or the really extensive seaweed collection.

They had these book holders that slide sideways to make loads of extra space but the most fascinating thing was the really old books at the top of the library, there was even a book with Darwin’s writing in it!
I am really grateful that the Beach Rangers team, Sam and Emily all were so considerate and made me feel so welcome to the MBA community. I would really recommend the Beach Ranger activities if you are in an area where they are going on. The MBA library is really worth a visit too if you are in Plymouth as there are so many different books and resources there.”

By Henry Follett, aged 10

Henry with Sam Simpson at the Beach Rangers

Cuckoo ray

Species Highlight

The MBA’s annual Bioblitz took place on the 14-15 October and was hosted at home, using our own laboratory facilities on the Hoe, Plymouth. If you had the chance to join us, we hope you had a good time.

The Bioblitz is a celebration of nature with members of the public joining wildlife experts and enthusiasts in recording biodiversity (in the sea, air and land) within a set boundary and a set period of time. This year, during the 24h+ event, more than 900 species have been recorded and the list is still growing. Some of the most interesting marine species found include: rosy feather stars (Antedon bifida); a cuttlefish (Sepia officinalis); a sea hare (Aplysia punctata); and trumpet Anemones (Aiptasia mutabilis), which are a rare sight but seem to thrive in the Plymouth Sound. Follow the links to find out more about each one.

If you are interested in finding out what we got up to, either read the full report of the event that will be published on the event page, or visit the MBA Bioblitz Facebook page for photos and some exciting videos.

A colony of Aiptasia mutabilis

YMB Competition

Time has come to launch the first ever YMB competition: MBA Christmas 2016 e-Card Design! We know it is a little early to think about Christmas. However, we want to give you plenty of time to prepare and give you a good chance to win the fantastic prize on offer.

The challenge involves using your artistic skills and knowledge of the marine environment to design marine themed Christmas cards. The winner will receive a copy of the Great British Marine Animals by Paul Naylor signed by the author himself! Together with local artists and MBA staff, Paul will also be part of the panel of judges for the shortlisting process. Additionally, the best three designs may be eligible to be used as the MBA’s 2016 Christmas e-cards for members and staff. These designs may also be selected to be used as printed MBA Christmas Cards.

Competition details:

– The card must be size A6 (105 x 148 mm), one sided;

– The design must encompass the marine and Christmas themes;

– Hand drawings/paintings, paper collages, or illustrated graphic designs will be accepted;

– To enter the competition you must be a current YMB member (include your membership number when submitting your entry);

– Design must be original;

– Maximum 2 designs per person;

– The competition will run until 30th November 2016;

– To submit your entry, take a photo (or scan) of your design and send the file to ymb@mba.ac.uk via we transfer. Alternatively, send via postal address to YMB Project Officer, The Marine Biological Association of the UK, The Laboratory, Citadel Hill, Plymouth, PL1 2PB, UK;

– See the competition’s Terms and Conditions for full details about the competition.

We look forward to receiving your creative designs.

YMB Competition prize


YMB Competition example

Oct 20, 2016 By elibas