One of the MBA's charitable aims is to communicate the knowledge gained from research to the public. We can help journalists with questions on marine biological research and marine life in general.

One of the MBA's charitable aims is to communicate the knowledge gained from research to the public. We can help journalists with questions on marine biological research and marine life in general.

Speak to an expert

The MBA is able to draw on its large membership for expert comment on a range of marine issues. In addition, MBA staff based in Plymouth have expertise in a number of areas including:

  • Ocean acidification
  • Plankton, plankton ecology and many aspects of marine microbial life
  • Ecology and conservation of marine top predators
  • Climate change, biodiversity and marine ecosystems
  • Pollution
  • Non-native species
  • Marine policy
  • Marine conservation and marine protected areas
  • Education and Ocean Literacy
  • Marine Data Archive​

In the first instance, please contact the MBA Head of Communications

Communications Office

Head of Communications Maya Plass

Telephone: +44(0) 7551 153578

Please note: the Communications Team is working remotely during the Covid-19 restrictions. Email is the best way to contact us.

If you are looking for images of marine life, please contact the Head of Communications

Background (notes for editors)

The Marine Biological Association (MBA) is a professional body for marine scientists with some 1,900 members world-wide. Since 1884 the MBA has established itself as a leading marine biological research organization contributing to the work of several Nobel Laureates and over 170 Fellows of the Royal Society. In 2013, the MBA was awarded a Royal Charter in recognition of its long and eminent history and its status within the field of marine biology.  The award strengthens the Association’s role in promoting marine biology as a discipline and in representing the interests of the marine biological community.

Prestigious national award enables Plymouth scientist to further studies into ocean warming

A research scientist at the MBA has been awarded a prestigious Future Leaders Fellowship as part of a new scheme funded by UK Research and Innovation (UKRI).

The scheme aims to establish the careers of world-class research and innovation leaders across UK business and academia, and offers significant funding to address a critically important issue.

Dr Dan Smale, a marine ecologist at the MBA, was awarded an FLF to study the impacts of rapid ocean warming on marine ecosystems globally. The project will involve running innovative warming experiments on a range of organisms, as well as analysing existing datasets and conducting surveys and experiments in different marine habitats.

Published 20 September 2019

Industrialised fishing overlaps threatened shark hotspots worldwide

A ground-breaking study, led by the Sims Group at the MBA has shown: 

  • Major high seas fishing activities are centred on ecologically important shark hotspots worldwide
  • North Atlantic blue sharks and shortfin mako – the fastest shark in the sea – have on average 76% and 62% of their space use, respectively, overlapped by longlines each month
  • Even internationally protected species such as great white and porbeagle sharks at risk
  • Danger of accelerating decline in populations and disappearance of hotspots
  • Results could provide a ‘blueprint’ for use in deciding where to place large-scale marine protected areas (MPAs)

Even the remotest parts of the ocean appear to offer highly migratory sharks little refuge from industrialised fishing fleets, the study published in the journal Nature reports.

Published 19 July 2019

Understanding our ancestors: New research uses marine model organisms to advance our understanding of how animals evolved

A new Marine Biological Association study in collaboration with researchers at the University of California, Berkeley has reconstructed detailed 3D images of cells that represent the closest cousins of the animals. This new work peels back the mysteries of how cells differentiated leading to the appearance of animals.

The research, led by MBA research student Davis Laundon and former MBA research fellow Pawel Burkhardt, focused on choanoflagellates, a type of microscopic aquatic organism that is the closest single-celled relative of animals.

Published 30 April 2019

The rise in ocean plastics evidenced from 60 years of data

Scientists at the Marine Biological Association and the University of Plymouth are first to confirm a significant increase in open-ocean plastics in recent decades.

Plastics threaten the ocean environment with impacts on marine organisms, economies and human wellbeing. In a research paper published today in the journal Nature Communications, researchers present 60 years of data collected over 6.5 million nautical miles from the North Atlantic, showing a significant increase in larger plastic items such as bags, rope and netting (macroplastics) from 1957 to 2016.

Published 16 April 2019

Marine heatwaves threaten global biodiversity

Extreme weather events occur in the oceans as well as the atmosphere. Marine heatwaves – periods of anomalously high temperatures – are increasing in frequency, with 54% more heatwave days per year from 1987–2016, than from 1925–1954, yet their impacts on species and ecosystems are poorly known.

Published 4 March 2019

Massive biological shifts in the global ocean

A new study shows how a warming ocean has led to unprecedented marine biological changes at the global level over the last decade, and that future changes will be stronger and have more severe effects on the living marine resources that we rely on.

Only a tiny fraction of the ocean is currently monitored for the effects of climate change, which limits our capability to predict its implications for marine biodiversity. Now, using a new model, a European-led, international team of marine scientists—including scientists from the Marine Biological Association (MBA), University of Plymouth and Plymouth Marine Laboratory (PML)—explains changes in marine communities on a global scale, and predicts that the increase in temperature will lead to major biological changes in the marine realm.

Published 25 February 2019