Changing seas focus of station alliance

The University of Edinburgh has signed a partnership with the St Abbs Marine Station to ensure more sustainable use of the seas and marine ecosystems.

The five-year collaboration with the marine station – located in the UK’s oldest voluntary marine reserve – involves researchers from the Schools of GeoSciences and Biological Sciences, the Roslin Institute and Royal (Dick) School of Veterinary Studies.

Their work aims to help address a range of scientific and societal challenges and enhance interdisciplinary marine research, teaching and innovation.

Unique facility

The St Abbs Marine Station was established in 2010 to help tackle major environmental challenges such as climate change, pollution, ocean acidification and overfishing.

Situated in an active fishing and recreational scuba diving harbour, St Abbs offers a complete socio-ecological microcosm from land to shore to shallow sea. The areas is also home to nationally important seabird colonies and biodiverse offshore rocky reef habitats.

Joint activities

The new partnership presents opportunities for joint research and teaching activities that take full advantage of the setting.

A supply of running seawater to tanks provides ideal conditions to study marine species and to assess the implications of warmer, more acidic oceans that contain less of the oxygen vital for life.

The facility also allows scientists to examine how generating electricity using offshore renewable energy devices affects marine creatures such as crabs, lobsters, sharks and other fish.

Researchers also aim to develop new approaches to aquaculture, including ways to support marine ecosystem restoration.

There is now compelling evidence that the oceans are changing faster than at any time in geological history. We have to develop practical plans to manage how we use the seas and restore marine ecosystems that have been degraded by destructive fishing practices or polluted by oil spills, sewage or plastic waste. The St Abbs Marine Station’s setting gives us a unique opportunity to tackle these and other problems. I can’t wait to get started!

Professor Murray RobertsDirector of Research and Chair of the Joint Working Group between the University and St Abbs Marine Station

Ocean focus

2021 marks the start of the United Nations Decade of Ocean Science for Sustainable Development.

The University is a Collaborating Partner in the UN initiative and the St Abbs partnership is an important use of its marine research expertise to help meet the UN Ocean Decade’s goals.

The major challenges facing the marine environment have never been greater. This new collaboration with the University of Edinburgh will create a platform of scientific excellence through world class research, giving us the knowledge to address the future of our seas and oceans. We are delighted to begin our work together.

Stephen NesbittChair of Trustees, St Abbs Marine Station

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