Research

Our research is a unique combination of observation, experimentation and modelling activities, working together to provide a greater understanding of the dynamic and complex marine environment to inform knowledge-based solutions to the challenges our ocean and seas face.

The ocean and seas are essential to every one of us. They regulate weather and climate, produce oxygen for us to breathe, provide food, chemicals, and energy and support our economies by providing employment in many sectors including transport, tourism, fishing, energy and biotechnology.

An increasing global population is placing ever increasing demands upon the resources provided by the ocean, but in order to be sustainable, cohesive, thoughtful and innovative management practices need to be applied which reach far beyond political boundaries. This requires an in depth knowledge of how the oceans and seas function so that we can predict how they may respond to future change.

Our unique combination of observation networks, experimental facilities and modelling capabilities enables us understand and forecast the changes in marine ecosystems and provide evidence-based solutions to the challenges posed. We work to anticipate emerging societal needs and promote stewardship of the marine environment, unlocking the ocean's value by developing tools to assess the benefits and risks in developing the blue economy.

Research topics

Air-sea gas exchange Aquaculture Biodiversity Capacity development Carbon and nutrient cycles Carbon Capture and Storage (CCS) Earth Observation Food security Invasive species Marine plastics Marine spatial planning Modelling the Marine Environment New technologies Ocean acidification Renewable energy Valuing the marine environment

Recent publications

  1. Hill, SL; Atkinson, A; Pakhomov, EA; Siegel, V. 2019 Evidence for a decline in the population density of Antarctic krill Euphausia superba Dana still stands. A comment on Cox et al. Journal of Crustacean Biology, 39 (3). 316-322. https://doi.org/10.1093/jcbiol/ruz004
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  2. Saha, M. 2019 “Language of Life” of Nemo, Dory, and Their Marine Friends. Frontiers for Young Minds, 7. https://doi.org/10.3389/frym.2019.00067
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  3. Cole, MJ; Coppock, RL; Lindeque, PK; Altin, D; Reed, S; Pond, DW; Sørensen, L; Galloway, TS; Booth, AM. 2019 Effects of Nylon Microplastic on Feeding, Lipid Accumulation, and Moulting in a Coldwater Copepod. Environmental Science & Technology. https://doi.org/10.1021/acs.est.9b01853 (In Press)
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  4. Coppock, RL; Galloway, TS; Cole, MJ; Fileman, ES; Queiros, AM; Lindeque, PK. 2019 Microplastics alter feeding selectivity and faecal density in the copepod, Calanus helgolandicus. Science of The Total Environment. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.scitotenv.2019.06.009 (In Press)
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  5. Griffiths, AGF; Modinou, I; Heslop, C; Brand, C; Weatherill, A; Baker, K; Hughes, AE; Lewis, J; de Mora, L; Mynott, S; Roberts, KE; Griffiths, DJ. 2019 AccessLab: Workshops to broaden access to scientific research. PLOS Biology, 17 (5). e3000258. https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pbio.3000258
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Our videos

Training the next generation of marine scientists with the University of Exeter

A short video on Plymouth Marine Laboratory and the University of Exeter's collaboration to give the next generation of marine biology students the opportunity to experience hands-on research...

The Smell of the Sea, Plankton and Climate Change


Algae in the ocean produce a molecule that not only creates the distinctive smell of the sea but also affects cloud formation and, therefore, the climate itself. Project leader, Dr Frances...

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