As well as making a fundamental impact on our understanding of the natural world, MBA outputs have made positive contributions towards impacts on people, societies, their health and well-being, and the planet. Here are some examples of our work.
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Capturing Our Coast

Capturing Our Coast aims to share best practice and work with other organisations leading related marine projects. In this way, together we can

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Marine Microbial Biodiversity, Bioinformatics, Biotechnology (MICROB3)

Technological advances in the fields of 'Omics have enabled marine scientists to realise projects they only dreamt of 10 years ago. Large amounts of next generation sequencing data stand in contrast to the small amount of data management infrastructure with integrated analysis software currently...

SEACELLS

The SeaCells project has been funded since October 2015 by a €2.7m European Research Council (ERC) Advanced Grant. SEACELLS addresses fundamental questions in phytoplankton biology from cellular to population scales.  Our recent studies of phytoplankton, primitive photosynthetic marine...

Mechanisms of ecosystem change in the Western Channel (MARINEXUS)

The main objective of Marinexus was to create a network of research and outreach structures, based in Plymouth and Roscoff, in order to give the public information about marine ecosystems in the Western Channel, and to make them aware of the ability of these ecosystems to cope with the effects...

Climate Change & Marine Life

The world's oceans are important for both the global ecological balance and a number of ecosystem services like food production and transport. While scientists have tested the effects of terrestrial warming using greenhouses, no research has been done to look at the effects of ocean warming....

Small scratch in antifoul coating on hull, colonised by several species

Development of a new antifouling assay

A bioassay of antifouling treatments is being developed based on the settlement and metamorphosis of bryozoan (moss animal) larvae.

In order to broaden the taxonomic range of testing used to assess new antifouling formulations, a bioassay using the responses of bryozoan larvae is being...

Habitats Directive Recreational Assessment

To support the Habitat Regulations Assessment of the Plymouth Sound and Estuaries European Marine Site, Plymouth City Council on behalf of the Tamar Estuaries Consultative Forum (TECF) has commissioned the MBA to collect and analyse evidence of recreational activities to assess the likely exposure...

Information Needs of a Celtic Seas Web Portal

This project was aimed to support stakeholders in understanding the requirements and implementing the MSFD in the Celtic Seas, one of the sub regions of the North East Atlantic Regional Sea. There were two parts to this work:

1) Identification and provision of a detailed list of specific...

Integrated Biotechnological Solutions for Combating Marine Oil Spills (Kill Spill)

Oil spills that release harmful petroleum hydrocarbons into the marine environment can be cleaned up in several ways. These include sponge-like sorbents that absorb oil, dispersants that chemically break down oil, and microorganisms that biologically degrade oil by consuming it as an energy...

THE MICRO ALGAE BIOREFINERY (D-Factory)

Links to project video can be found here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iA8_CgVbj_Ehttps://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lp9gwEYXq40

The aim of FP7-KBBE D-...

The MBA research programme is recognized for its excellence and diversity, ranging from the fundamental biology of marine organisms through to the study of whole communities and ecosystems.

MBA research is supported by many different funding bodies, including the Natural Environment Research Council and the Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council. The MBA also conducts research with many European partners, through the EU framework programmes. Here are some examples of our work.

Inspecting pontoons managed by Milford Haven Port Authority

Biosecurity training and advice on non-native species

The MBA is working with partners in the provision of biosecurity training and advice along with the development of biosecurity plans for specific sites, areas and activities. Biosecurity here means taking steps to make sure that good practices are in place to minimise the risk of spreading...

Incubation chamber (Gonozooid) of the cyclostome Filicrisia geniculata

Reproductive biology of sessile animal species

A long-standing study has elucidated spermcast mating by sessile invertebrates, a widespread process involving the release of sperm into the water and its subsequent uptake by conspecific genetic individuals. 

This has involved long-term culturing of colonial ascidians...

Propellor with fouling including non-native species

Leisure boating and non-native species

The role of leisure boating and marinas in the secondary spread of non-natives along coastlines is being investigated.

This has involved survey work, monitoring and experimental investigations using settlement panels. The data also contributes baseline distribution information...

Mitochondrial haplotypes of global populations of the ascidian Ciona robusta

The introduction of marine species to new areas by human activities

The anthropogenic mechanisms and routes by which marine species are carried between remote biogeographic regions have been studied.

This has involved a combination of i) population-genetic approaches to infer population histories and ii) repeated monitoring of sites to document actual...

Coccolithophore calcification: An unexpected requirement for silicon

Coccolithophores are well known for their ability to produce intricate protective scales composed of crystalline calcium carbonate (calcite). A collaborative project led by Dr. Glen Wheeler (MBA) is studying the unexpected finding that certain species of coccolithophores require silicon in order...

Kelp population observations

Kelp population observations and studies have been a key focus inter-tidally at the MBA for many years and notable changes have been observed, however, little has been conducted sub-tidally. This project is the first to look at potential population shifts sub-tidally in relation to climate...

Coastal biogeography and biodiversity of New Zealand

A British Council researcher exchange award has linked the MBA with the National Institute for Water and Atmospheric research, NIWA in New Zealand. 126 rocky intertidal sites have been surveyed between 2008-2011, producing a unique, broadscale dataset of the biogeographic distribution and...

Physiological mechanisms underpinning organismal response to multiple stressors

The reproductive cycles and seasonal recruitment success of key climate indicator species of trochid gastopods are being tracked within field populations close to their northern range limits to monitor phenological shifts in onset of gonad activity and alterations to reproductive strategy....

Impacts of ocean acidification on key benthic ecosystems, communities, habitats, species and life cycles.

The NERC consortium project that initiated the ocean acidification mesocosm-based research at the MBA comprised 25 researchers from 12 organisations across the UK, and an international partner at Kristineberg Marine Research Station (part of Gothenburg University). Long-term laboratory...

Marine Biodiversity and Climate change MarClim

The Marine Biological Association maintains some of the longest biological time-series in the world. The Marine Biodiversity and Climate Change Project, MarClim® which was...

MBA Education has enormous experience in interpreting scientific concepts for diverse audiences. Our activities and resources have a reputation for innovation and accessibility and many are designed to fit with formal education curricula.

The MBA Data Team provides expertise in the archiving, management, visualization and dissemination of quality-assured marine biodiversity datasets and metadata.  The team operates the national biodiversity Data Archive Centre, DASSH, which is accredited through the Marine Environmental Data and Information Network (MEDIN).  The Data Team supplies advice, tools and resources enabling maximum value to be gained from biological datasets and additionally provides guidance on compliance with UK and International legislation relating to data governance.
The MBA has long recognised the important role of citizen scientists for conservation and monitoring biodiversity. We work in partnership to support numerous initiatives and projects including the Sealife Survey recording scheme in partnership with the National Biodiversity Network, and an annual Bioblitz event.

The MBA is embedded in numerous European partnerships and networks. We have worked both as a partner and as project lead, with European colleagues in a plethora of marine-themed projects primarily funded through the EU Framework Programmes up to and including Horizon 2020, and the European Regional Development Fund Interreg programme.

Managing activities in the marine environment requires robust, up-to-date evidence on a variety of issues from habitats and species impact assessments through to activities/pressures analyses and governance/legislation frameworks. The MBA has an exceptional track record in providing this type of evidence to a wide range of stakeholders with some of the most recent shown here.