It is an immense honour to be appointed as the new Director of the Marine Biological Association, particularly at such an exciting time in our long and illustrious history. One of my first jobs as Director is to oversee the implementation of a merger between the MBA and the Sir Alister Hardy Foundation for Ocean Science (SAHFOS), home of the Continuous Plankton Recorder (CPR) Survey. The CPR Survey has been monitoring the pulse of the oceans through the plankton since 1931. This new research program will now allow the MBA to contribute to the significant scientific effort that advises political decisions on a global scale. Scientific synergies from this merger are important and will strengthen the MBA’s position as an international leader in Marine Biology.
We have a clear mandate to drive marine biology research over the next 12 years with the IOC Decade of the Ocean (2021 – 2030) on our doorstep. There is an increasing emphasis on globally coordinated marine science solutions towards “conserving and sustainably using the oceans, seas and marine resources for sustainable development”; all clearly articulated in the UN’s sustainable development goal 14 (SDG14). Much of the research must be seen to be societally driven with the primary objective to develop the ocean economy. Importantly, this must be underpinned by excellence in marine science to help increase scientific knowledge about the cumulative impacts of widely researched environmental stressors such as global warming, ocean acidification and plastic pollution. Without this knowledge, ocean management will be impossible.
At the MBA we understand that curiosity driven research is a starting point for developing the solutions to ensure a sustainable ocean. Our focus as an Association of marine biologists is to translate our research through a wide range of knowledge exchange tools to demonstrate impact. Learning how to articulate this in creative ways will go a long way to getting public, political and even peer support for what is critical research for the health of our planet. As marine biologists we have a responsibility to society since we have the capacity to find the answers and develop the solutions for a sustainable society.
You can also learn how to contribute to marine biology and the marine environment by becoming a member of the MBA or by making a donation.
Professor Willie Wilson