The Beach Rangers blog, 14 August 2018. Plastic pollution in our oceans

Posted on Aug 16, 2018

Tuesday's session at Teats Hill this week was focused on plastic pollution in our oceans.

We helped the children understand the impact of their rubbish by using a timeline game to show them how long different types of rubbish take to break down, getting them to initially guess what they thought - as you can imagine everyone underestimated the time!! Following that we had a very productive litter pick which all parties involved loved. One 13 year-old commented 'I really enjoyed that, its nice to make a difference.'. It is unfortunately shocking how much we collected in just half an hour at Teats Hill - one child even found a sleeping mat! - but we were really pleased to prevent it from entering the ocean.

We also did lots of plastic crafts, making squids, turtles, fish and jellyfish from plastic bottles - they were amazing and I was very impressed with the creativity...

Fisheries White Paper: Contribute to official MBA consultation response

Posted on Aug 10, 2018

DEFRA is consulting on its future fisheries policy which sets out plans for regulation after the UK exits the European Union. This includes plans to maintain current quota systems and the application of the Maximum Sustainable Yield (MSY) principle, while allowing for more adaptive, science-based management that is in line with the Government’s 25 Year Environment Plan. The consultation asks for advice and evidence on the proposed methods for sustainable management, quota allocation, discard prevention, as well as general regulations and relationships with other countries.

The Marine Biological Association has an opportunity to respond and we would like to continue to utilise out member’s expert opinions and comments. If you would like to contribute comments...

Experts explain why our sea is aglow

Posted on Aug 7, 2018

In advance of the National Fireworks competition, Plymouth’s sea is putting on a stunning natural sparkling display.

Have you noticed Plymouth’s sea sparkling at night over the last few weeks? The water has been lit up by a glow of blue bioluminescence, caused by a microscopic organism known as ‘sea sparkle’.

Sea sparkle is a type of phytoplankton known as Noctiluca scintillans , a free floating algae-like species that can both photosynthesise like a plant, but also ingest particles of food like an animal. When disturbed they emit a blue glow. N. scintillans is commonly found around UK shores; however, in order to see the blue glow, they must be in high abundance.

It is a rare but stunning sight, and this year has been particularly good for this species to thrive. The prolonged period of settled weather we have been enjoying has helped...

MBA Research Vessels

Posted on Jul 24, 2018

Salpa whose ship’s bell hangs above, was the sea-going facility of the Marine Biological Association from 1921 to 1939. She was an 88ft long, coal burning, ex-Admiralty steam drifter/trawler, built for minesweeping in World War I. Originally named Nadir , she entered service in July 1921, and in the next year was fitted with a small deck laboratory but always maintained a reputation for being an uncomfortable vessel for scientific work. During her eighteen years as a research vessel, she maintained the regular quarterly line of stations from Plymouth to Ushant as well as the monthly sampling at E1 and, from 1924, the weekly sampling at the Eddystone. After 1935 this activity was restricted to the E1 and Eddystone stations, but her trawling activities were essential for the supply of specimens for experimental work. At the outbreak of World War II, Salpa ...

Continuous Plankton Recorder (CPR) Survey team shows appreciation for volunteer support at Immingham port

Posted on Jul 17, 2018

Behind-the-scenes voluntary support is essential to the running of the CPR survey.

Lance Gregory and Dave Wilson from the MBA's Continuous Plankton Recorder (CPR) team recently visited Immingham port to meet several of our supporters whose work and collaboration are essential to the running of the CPR survey.

During the visit they had the opportunity to meet staff from DFDS, Eimskip, Sea Cargo and Drury Engineering, all of whom provide invaluable support to our long-running time series Survey.

Dockside staff and agents found out about our work through a “double act” presentation on the CPR Survey. The presentation explained the Survey in depth and highlighted just some of the science that has been generated from its findings. The visit reinforced the reasons the Survey is essential to long-term marine science and how much the volunteers' work is appreciated.


International public awareness campaign highlighting plastics in the worlds' oceans features continuous plankton recorder

Posted on Jul 5, 2018

A public awareness campaign targeting the issue of plastics in the world’s oceans is in Washington DC where it has been a huge hit, attracting around 20,000 visitors!

The campaign opened in October last year, featuring the MBA’s Continuous Plankton Recorder (CPR) Survey. The Ocean Plastic Lab exhibition was launched in Turin, Italy and travelled to Paris before continuing its tour of the G7 countries, inviting the public to engage with scientific work being done around the world.

The CPR Survey contributed CPR silk, images, graphs of the spread of plastics, and text which were all incorporated into one of the 3 converted shipping containers. Jennifer Skinner, Outreach Officer & CPR Survey Plankton Analyst said, “ As the only UK marine science partner with the Ocean Plastic Lab exhibition, our work is fairly prominent, so it’s great to hear...

Plymouth student wins national commendation for best undergraduate thesis

Posted on Jul 5, 2018

Davis Laundon has been awarded a Certificate of Commendation by the Zoological Society of London as part of the Charles Darwin Award & Marsh Prize for the best undergraduate thesis across the UK.

Davis' excellent undergraduate research on choanoflagellates focused on investigating the origin and evolution of animal multicelullarity.

Davis has now started his PhD at the Marine Biological Association, Plymouth. He said: " During my undergraduate studies, I conducted my thesis work at the MBA with Pawel Burkhardt studying the evolution of synaptic proteins in the closest single celled relatives of the animals - the choanoflagellates. I am excited to continue working at the MBA on my PhD with Michael Cunliffe, where I will be investigating the parasitic interaction between fungi and marine diatoms. "


A graphic depicting...