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
  • 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 Communications Officer

Communications Office

Communications Officer Guy Baker

Telephone: +44(0)1752 426239 or +44(0)7876 831267

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

Background (notes for editors)

The Marine Biological Association (MBA) is a professional body for marine scientists with some 1,400 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.

Marine heatwaves threaten global biodversity​

Extreme weather events occur in the oceans as well as the atmosphere. Marine heatwaves – periods of anomalously high temperatures – are increasing in frequency, with over 50% more heatwave days per year from 1987–2016, than from 1925–1954, yet their impacts on species and ecosystems are poorly known.

The research paper, 'Marine heatwaves threaten global biodiversity and the provision of ecosystem services' published in the journal Nature Climate Change, is available here.

Published 5 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.

The research employs a new model that is capable of remarkably accurate predictions of observed long-term fluctuations, including identifying well-documented abrupt and widespread changes to marine ecosystems (in the late 1980s and late 1990s). The model identified that an unprecedented and massive shift in ocean populations occurred from 2010 to 2015 (see Figure 1), which the authors warn may have substantial ecological consequences across the whole globe.

The research paper, 'Prediction of unprecedented biological shifts in the global ocean' published in the journal Nature Climate Change, is available here.

Published 25 February 2019

New Marine Biological Association researcher will explore frontiers of evolutionary biology

The Marine Biological Association has awarded a prestigious Anne Warner Fellowship to Vengamanaidu (Venky) Modepalli, whose appointment will open up new areas of research in evolutionary biology.

Visit Dr Modepalli's web pages here.

Published 6 November 2018

From Lab Bench to Backbench

Marine Biological Association scientist visits politicians in Westminster.

Dr Matt Frost from the Marine Biological Association will be swapping a lab coat for legislation when he visits Sheryll Murray at the House of Commons for a week in Westminster. The week (04 – 07 December) is part of a unique pairing scheme run by the Royal Society – the UK’s national academy of science, with support from the Government Science & Engineering (GSE) profession.  

Published 1 December 2017

€1.9m to open the ‘black box’ of marine fungi

Fungi are the great decomposers, breaking down complex organic material and making it available for growth. But they aren’t just found in the woods; a new project, led by the MBA, has received €1.9m to fill the gap in our understanding of fungi in the sea.

The project has received a Consolidator Grant from the European Research Council (ERC) to fund five years of research, much of which will take place in Plymouth.

Published 29 November 2017

Blue Planet, Green Seas

The Marine Biological Association helped the BBC’s Natural History Unit with information and facilities for the filming of its landmark series Blue Planet II.

Yesterday’s episode, Green Seas, highlighted the role of the ocean and its inhabitants in regulating the atmosphere and mitigating the effects of climate change. The sequence showing phytoplankton in close-up was filmed at the MBA laboratory on the Hoe in Plymouth using cells from our microalgal culture collection and samples collected on the day from Plymouth Sound by MBA staff members.

Published 27 November 2017

Mysterious nocturnal migrations of skates

Scientists have shown for the first time how skates make night-time forays into shallower water, moving across a varied seabed topography, searching and foraging for food along the way. This unique window on the fine details of fish behaviour was made possible by data from electronic tagging, and may influence the management of these vulnerable species.

The skate species in the study, carried out by researchers at the Marine Biological Association (MBA), were blonde ray (Raja brachyura) (pictured), thornback ray (R. clavata), small-eyed ray (R. microocellata) and spotted ray (R. montagui).

Published 9 November 2017

The secret life of lugworms – citizen scientists are needed to help shed light on the sex life of this sediment-dwelling worm

Love is in the air again this year along our coastlines and University of Portsmouth needs your help to keep an eye out for signs of passion in the lugworm population.

Published 13 October 2017

Scientists develop new technology to predict how marine life will fare in warmer seas

Using a novel system to conduct warming experiments in real marine habitats, researchers in the Benthic Ecosystems and Environmental Change research group at the MBA have demonstrated that seawater warming of the magnitude already experienced during ‘marine heatwaves’ causes major changes in underwater communities of microbes and animals.

Published September 2017

Seaweeds succumb to viruses too!

Scientists from Plymouth, UK are warning the UK kelp biofuel industry to beware of viruses.
Whilst known to infect certain types of seaweed, a new study published in the ISME Journal is the
first to describe viruses in kelps, which are important both ecologically and commercially.

Published August 2017

Impacts of marine climate change demonstrated by decade of scientific collaboration

A major new publication by the UK Marine Climate Change Impacts Partnership (MCCIP) demonstrates the important effects climate change is having on UK seas and coastlines.  

Published July 2017

Exciting Ocean Outreach Activities Revealed in the Sea Change Project’s Third Project Newsletter

The third issue of the Sea Change project newsletter showcases a range of innovative activities taking place across Europe to boost European citizens’ “Ocean Literacy”, an understanding of the ocean’s influence on us and our influence on the ocean.

Sea Change is a three-year EU Horizon 2020-funded project that is establishing a fundamental “Sea Change” in the way European citizens view their relationship with the ocean by increasing Ocean Literacy throughout society. 

Published March 2017

Study highlights a new threat to bees worldwide​

recent study published in the Nature journal Scientific Reports highlights a newly identified virus – named Moku after the Hawaiian Island from which it was isolated – in the invasive wasp, Vespula pensylvanica. The study also warns that transmission of these kinds of viruses, especially from invasive species which can spread viruses to new locations, is a threat to pollinator health worldwide.

Particularly under threat are honey bees, which are as vital to our food systems as the crops they pollinate, and which are prone to a range of emergent diseases, including Moku and Deformed wing virus (DWV).

The study has highlighted the importance of monitoring invasive species for broad-range viruses as well as the potential for transmission of these pathogens. Dr Declan Schroeder, Head of the Virus Ecology Group at the MBA explains: “The true significance of this discovery lies in the potential ramifications that a new biological invasion could cause”.

Published 27 October 2015

Sea Change launches new campaign: Our Ocean, Our Health

The Sea Change project invites you to take simple steps towards protecting our ocean by joining its new “Our Ocean, Our Health” campaign to raise awareness of the interconnectedness of ocean and human health.

Sea Change is an EU Horizon 2020-funded project which aims to raise European citizens’ awareness of the intrinsic links between ocean and human health, and to empower us, as “Ocean Literate” citizens, to take direct and sustainable action towards a healthy ocean, healthy communities and ultimately a healthy planet.

Statement on the EU referendum from the Marine Biological Association

Promoting marine biology and excellence in research is central to the mission of the Marine Biological Association (MBA). The recent vote for Britain to leave the European Union raises significant uncertainties surrounding essential funding for the UK marine biology community.  The impact of this goes far beyond the UK as European funding has enabled UK-based scientists to play a crucial role in working collaboratively with colleagues in Europe and beyond. Significant progress in the marine biological and environmental sciences can no longer be achieved without strong international collaborations. Marine Biologists based at the Association’s laboratory for example are involved in major initiatives that would allow European marine scientists’ access to the expertise and facilities available in marine laboratories throughout the UK as well as providing UK scientists with open access to large-scale European facilities not available in the UK.

As a Chartered body promoting marine biology the MBA will actively engage with the UK Government to help ensure adequate resources are made available to support marine research, education and advice provision. The MBA will also be stressing the importance of having mechanisms in place for collaboration and networking so that the ability of the marine biological community to meet today’s marine environmental challenges and address fundamental research questions is not compromised.

Adrift for over 100 years - the world's oldest message in a bottle

A postcard returned to the Plymouth Laboratory of the Marine Biological Association (MBA) has been recognized by Guinness World Records as the oldest message in a bottle ever found!

Published 18 April 2016

Shark hotspots 'tracked' by fishing vessels

An international team of researchers from the UK, Portugal, Spain and U.S.A. tracked more than 100 sharks from six different species by satellite across the entire North Atlantic, one of the most heavily exploited oceans. Concurrent with the shark tracking, the scientists tracked 186 Spanish and Portuguese longline fishing vessels using GPS to quantify the overlap in space and time.

For more information on this type of research see The Sims Lab

Published 25 January 2016 

Scientist set to use 'free DNA' to assess marine biodiversity

The Marine Biological Association (MBA) is part of two different £1.2m Natural Environment Research Council (NERC) projects to find out how effective the tools developed around environmental DNA (eDNA) will be at telling us what organisms – from plankton to whales – are present in an area, and how ecosystems work.

Plymouth marine biologists awarded £3million for studies of plankton ‘nerve impulses’

Marine biologists working at the Marine Biological Association (MBA) laboratory in Plymouth have been awarded funds totalling almost £3 million to study how tiny algae in the sea sense and respond to their environment using mechanisms that are very similar to sophisticated nerve activity in animals and humans.

Published 29 July 2015

Press release: Scientists meet to halt shark and ray declines

This week, international experts will gather in Plymouth for the annual conference of the Fisheries Society of the British Isles (FSBI) hosted by the Marine Biological Association of the UK (MBA) and Plymouth University, to discuss ways of using new science and technology to help sustainably manage shark, skate and ray populations. 

“The decline in sharks, skates and rays is truly alarming and a global phenomenon” Image: James Lea

Published 24 July 2015

Robot vehicles launched from Plymouth this morning on fish tracking mission

Three marine ‘robot’ vehicles have been launched from Plymouth today to undertake a fish tracking mission in and around new Marine Protected Areas (MPAs). For more information click here.

Published 3 November 2014

Sustained observations of the sea - how the past holds the key to the future

Sustained observations of the sea by the Marine Biological Association of the UK highlight massive changes across UK marine systems.

The Mieszkowska Group

Published 24 August 2014

The Ocean Sampling Day

On June 21, 2014, a worldwide sampling campaign of microbial life within marine surface water was performed within the framework of Micro B3’s Ocean Sampling Day (OSD).

Published 23 June 2014

North Atlantic coastal ecosystens at threat

Rising temperatures, acidified seawater and increased storminess are driving profound changes in the marine ecosystems of the North Atlantic according to a new report.

The Mieszkowska Group

Published 19 June 2014

First records of the Asian shore crab

Photographs of an unusual crab have been confirmed as the first mainland GB record of the Asian shore crab Hemigrapsus sanguineus.

Published 6 June 2014

New Honoury Fellowships 

HRH the Duke of Edinburgh and HSH Prince Albert II of Monaco are amongst new Honorary Fellows appointed by the Marine Biological Association, to mark and celebrate the award of a Royal Charter.

Published 12 March 2014

Marine biology comes of age - The Royal Charter 

The patron of the Marine Biological Association, HRH The Duke of Edinburgh, will join a host of distinguished guests to celebrate the marine environment – and the importance of understanding it – at a Royal Charter reception at the Fishmongers’ Hall in London.

Published 3 March 2014.

Are oil-degrading microbes turned on by worms? 

Marine worms are the latest ally in the battle against oil pollution of the marine environment. The Marine Biological Association is a partner in a new European funded consortium, developing novel biotechnological ways of tackling oil spills.

Published 11 November 2013

The Marine Biological Association to establish a legacy-funded Fellowship

The world-famous Marine Biological Association of the UK has been left a substantial legacy by Professor Anne Warner, FRS, an eminent scientist who died in 2012. The MBA will take this opportunity to establish an endowed Warner Fellowship to open a new research area in cell and molecular biology of marine organisms. 

Published 19 September 2013

Albatrosses find distant prey

Wandering albatrosses employ the best possible search pattern to find food in the vast expanses of the Southern Ocean.

Image: Paul Tixier.
The Sims Lab

Published 28 August 2013

MBA Royal Charter

Plymouth’s Marine Biological Association (MBA) which was first established more than a century ago has been granted a Royal Charter. The MBA has been recognised for its long and eminent history and its status within the field of marine biology. The Royal Charter was approved by the Privy Council at the Court at Buckingham Palace last month. Image: Keith Hiscock

Published 24 June 2013

BioBlitz 2013

Wildlife searches bring together experts and the public.

Image: MBA

Published May 2012

Shark refuge 

Groups of female sharks hide away to avoid unwanted sexual attention
from males, research has shown.

Image: Keith Hiscock

Published 2 Nov 2012

Bee mite virus

Researchers in Hawaii and the UK report that the parasitic ‘Varroa’ mite has caused the Deformed Wing Virus (DWV)
to proliferate in honey bee colonies. Image: R. Lamoureux (photothèque CNRS)

The Schroeder Group

Published 7 June 2012