Marine Biological Association



Who we are:

The Marine Biological Association is a long-established learned society (since 1884) defined and recognised by Royal Charter.  The MBA is dedicated to promoting research into our oceans and the life they support. We are a world-class marine biological research laboratory with internationally recognised scientists. We amplify our voice through and for our members from over 40 countries.

What we’re doing in the Darwin Tree of Life Project:

The MBA is a Genome Acquisition Laboratory with a major role in the sampling and provision of marine species. We provide a diverse range of marine microbial eukaryotes (mainly phytoplankton), marine fungi (including lichens), marine macroalgae, invertebrates and fish. We are also developing and optimising DNA barcoding approaches for different marine eukaryote groups to support species identification and taxonomy. Our team collect species from sites around the UK coastline, process samples in the laboratory and send them to the Sanger team for genome sequencing. The MBA team barcodes plant and algal samples, and the Natural History Museum barcode the invertebrate species samples.

Why we’re invested in the Darwin Tree of Life Project:

Genome-level understanding of marine life is at the core of MBA science. We will utilise the DToL genomes to help better understand the diversity and evolution of marine organisms, including how they respond to environmental stressors and climate change. We will link the genomes with physiological, ecological and biogeographical research and long-term time-series to generate novel understanding of the mechanisms by which marine species respond to the environment and anthropogenic change.

Former DToL researchers:

  • Joanna Harley
  • Helen Jenkins
  • Robert Mrowicki
  • Kes Scott-Somme