Reports from CAIP Affiliates: The Marine Biological Association of the United Kingdom

Date Published: 
20 Nov 2017

The Marine Biological Association of the United Kingdom (MBA) is a professional body for marine biologists with some 1200 members world-wide. The MBA has earned an international reputation for excellence and innovation in research, by the resident scientific staff and visiting research workers, including seven Nobel laureates.

The charitable aims of the Association are:To promote scientific research into all aspects of life in the sea, including the environment on which it depends, and to disseminate to the public the knowledge gained.

This is achieved

High quality academic research

This curiosity-driven research matches the mission of the Natural Environment Research Council (NERC) of the UK, through the Fellowship programme. The programme is overseen by the MBA Research Committee and Fellows are selected from highly competitive fields. MBA Fellows have been extremely successful in terms of publications and winning research grants. Not surprisingly, MBA Fellows have moved onto a variety of academic positions. The MBA has also been active in training research students.

Basic biomedical research using marine preparations as experimental models

Biomedical research is undertaken by both in-house staff and visitors. Nobel Prize winning work on giant squid axons was undertaken at Plymouth. Marine organisms provide a variety of useful and ethical models for basic biomedical work.

Long-term studies of marine ecosystems

Using the extensive body of information from over 100 years of research at Plymouth, the MBA is undertaking long term work on changes in fish and plankton, and leads the Marine Environmental Change Network. The MBA also leads the MarClim programme which is studying rocky shore indicators of climate change.

Education and Communication

The MBA disseminates information from research on marine life via conferences, publications, including the Journal of the Marine Biological Association, the Marine Life Information Network (MarLIN) and public understanding of science activities including adult education. It hosts the National Marine Biological Library, largely funded by NERC. It also runs advanced courses (e.g. Cell Physiology Workshop and Optical Techniques Workshop). The first intake of students for the new MRes degree in Marine Biology, run jointly with the University of Plymouth, graduated this year and 17 students, from the UK, Portugal and India, have started the new academic year.


Optical Techniques for Cell Physiology and Developmental Biology: Advanced training workshop. April 2005

The Annual Microelectrode Techniques: Advanced training workshop. September 2005


Journal of the Marine Biological Association, 6 volumes per year.
Occasional publications.
MBA Newsletter twice per year
MBA Annual Report