We want you to write an original essay on the theme of ‘a decade in the ocean’

— you could write about what you think will change in science in the next ten years, what you think might be discovered, your own personal relationship with the ocean or how you think (or hope) people will change the way they use and protect the ocean. You can, if you want, write about something you've heard about at the 2020 Young Marine Biologist Summit (even if you didn’t attend the summit you can still enter).


  • We are looking for essays that are well researched, imaginative, thought-provoking and which offer us an insight into your personal views and hopes for the future of the ocean. We’d like to get a sense for why the ocean matters to you.
  • You can write in any style; you can be serious, or funny, or a mixture of both.
  • Think of how you can grab the judges’ attention and keep them interested.
  • Consider your audience – your essay may be published in the Marine Biologist magazine and should appeal to an interested but non-expert audience.

How to enter:

Email your entry in a .doc or PDF format to events@mba.ac.uk. In your email, include:

1. your full name | 2. Your age on day of entry | 3. where you are from.

Submissions must be a maximum of 650 words (shorter essays are acceptable!) and limited to one per person.

Please submit your entry by January the 15th 2020.

Entries will be judged in each of two age categories: 14 and under; and 15 to 18.

All submitted work will be considered for publication in Guardian Seascape and the Marine Biologist Magazine. Prize bundles of fantastic marine natural history books including signed books by Helen Scales and a selection of MBA goodies will be awarded to our judges’ favourite essays


Entries will be judged by a panel of experts in the field of science writing:

Dr Helen Scales – Author, broadcaster and Scientist

Julie Dando – Natural history book publisher

Guy Baker – Editor of The Marine Biologist magazine

Maya Plass – Author and Science communicator

Paul Naylor – Author and underwater photographer

Download a printable flier/ poster to promote the challenge in your school

If you aren’t already a member of the MBA, don’t forget to join at www.mba.ac.uk/membership to support our work and become part of the marine biological community!

Dec 8, 2020 By loiflo