Long-term monitoring reveals how pink salmon influence their food supply in a region of the north Pacific ocean

Posted on May 25, 2018

Scientists have discovered that a single, exceptionally abundant fish species can impact the food supply in an entire region with consequences for other species and for the way marine resources are managed.

The scientists, led by the Marine Biological Association’s Dr Sonia Batten , used a continuous plankton recorder (CPR) which is towed behind commercial ships, to collect plankton data during summer months between 2000 and 2014, across 1000s of kilometers of the southern Bering Sea and North Pacific. Pink salmon are exceptionally abundant in odd-numbered years (up to 650 million adult fish), owing to their two-year life history, and they represent nearly 70% of all Pacific salmon. Pink salmon are more abundant now than ever since comprehensive monitoring began in 1925 and they consume significant amounts of zooplankton as they migrate throughout the study region. The study...

MP visits the Marine Biological Association

Posted on May 23, 2018

Last year Dr Matt Frost spent a week in parliament shadowing the local southeast Cornwall MP Sheryll Murray. On Tuesday May 29 it is her turn to shadow Dr Frost.

Sheryll Murray will spend the day at the Marine Biological Association's Plymouth laboratory learning about science-policy interactions, meeting experts who can provide evidence on policy issues, and find out about the science behind the issues raised by her constituents.

The visits are part of a Royal Society scheme pairing scientists with policy-makers that gives policymakers and research scientists an opportunity to experience each other’s worlds.

European Marine Biological Resource Centre Biobank (EBB)

Posted on May 22, 2018

EBB is an Interreg (Atlantic Area) funded project with 20 partner institutions across Europe, which aims to

1) Protect marine biodiversity through the establishment of a centrally curated biobank operated by the European Marine Biological Resources Centre (EMBRC),

2) Ensure compliance with Access and Benefits Sharing (ABS) legislation, aimed at the conservation and sustainable use of biodiversity, and

3) Enhance coastal ecosystem services through the biotechnological valorization of Marine Biological Resources (MBRs).


As acknowledged by the Smart Specialization Strategies (S3s) of European coastal regions, MBRs are one of the main services provided by coastal ecosystems, having a great potential to promote regional economic development and employment through blue biotechnology, and thus to contribute to growth...

A bigger Marine Biological Association and a stronger future for marine biology

Posted on May 18, 2018

Glasses were raised at the Citadel Hill laboratory on Plymouth Hoe yesterday evening to celebrate the successful merger of the Continuous Plankton Recorder (CPR) Survey with the Marine Biological Association (MBA).

Staff and guests including the MBA’s governing Council enjoyed the sunshine and looked very much to the future, welcoming new colleagues as two organisations became one. Short talks were given by the MBA’s new Director Prof Willie Wilson, and Professors Patrick Holligan and Michael Whitaker. The speakers emphasised the MBA’s unique position representing an international community of marine biologists through its membership, and how that global reach has been greatly strengthened by the incorporation of the CPR Survey.

Professor Wilson spoke of the grand challenges facing society and the role of the bigger MBA. He said, “The international...

Warming and Inhibition of Salinization at the Ocean’s Surface by Cyanobacteria

Posted on May 17, 2018

A recent study, published in Geophysical Research Letters , has highlighted a fundamental influence on the accuracy of satellite observations of sea surface temperature: surface blooms of the algae Trichodesmium sp.

The paper, whose authors include Kim Bird (PhD student) and Research Fellow Michael Cunliffe of the MBA, describes the biologically controlled warming and inhibition of salinization of surface waters by cyanobacterial surface blooms.

Ms Bird said, “In this study, we describe a new microbiologically driven phenomenon to force "apparent" freshening and warming of the sea surface, which was previously assumed to occur only by precipitation. This has been possible because of the interdisciplinary approach taken, using the combined observations made by our international team of chemical, physical and biological oceanographers during the...

Pirate Weekend at the MBA

Posted on May 10, 2018

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The Marine Biological Association of the UK, Plymouth’s ‘old aquarium’, has been conducting world leading research at its purpose built laboratory on the Hoe (between the Barbican and West Hoe) since 1888. On Saturday 12th May, between 10.30 and 2.30, the MBA’s pirate friends will be opening up the building to all small pirates and their families.

Come and look for sea monsters and the library ghost on guided tours of our historic building (on the hour, every hour), take part in messy science experiments and enjoy children’s craft and fun activities, including the O-limpet games and rope making.

Fathoms Free will also be taking part creating artworks from litter and talking about their work doing ghost gear retrieval’s, dives for debris and beach cleans, and producing kayaks made from marine plastic.

The event is free but...

Professor Willie Wilson will lead the Marine Biological Association forward into its next exciting phase

Posted on Apr 4, 2018

Professor Willie Wilson has been appointed as the new Director of the Marine Biological Association.

Building on his success as Director of the National Center for Marine Algae and Microbiota (NCMA) in the US, then Director of SAHFOS home of the CPR Survey, Prof Wilson has been appointed as Director of MBA. His vision is to ensure the MBA is one of the most widely recognised and respected marine biology organisations in the world. Prof Wilson describes himself as a “virus evangelist”. His research focuses on the diverse roles of marine viruses including algal viruses, giant viruses, coral viruses, persistent virus infections, and the paradox of how viruses are necessary for life.

The appointment happens at a particularly exciting time in our long and illustrious history, as we join forces with The Continuous Plankton Recorder Survey .