The oceans are vital to life on Earth. They provide us with oxygen, regulate the climate, and support an enormous variety of marine life. However, the health of our oceans is in crisis due to pollution, overfishing, and the climate emergency.
On World Oceans Day (8 June), we are reminded of the importance of the oceans to sustaining life and their potential in sustainably transforming communities.
Scotland is intimately linked to the 460,000sqkm of waters around us - the North Sea, the Irish Sea, and the Atlantic Ocean - our water ways connect our islands, have defined our history, and are an important part of daily life.
It is therefore no surprise that our seas and oceans are an important area of research. On World Oceans Day, we highlight some of our ocean-focused partners and the work that they do.
The Marine Alliance for Science and Technology for Scotland
The Marine Alliance for Science and Technology for Scotland (MASTS) is a community of organisations engaged in marine science. MASTS represents the majority of Scotland's marine research capacity and has 18 member organisations (13 Higher Education Institutions (HEIs), 4 Non-HEIs including Government bodies and a private charity). It was formed in 2009 and its Directorate is based at the University of St Andrews in the Scottish Oceans Institute.
MASTS Annual Science Meeting © MASTS
MASTS operates within a broad research landscape, ranging from fundamental science to applied research, designed to underpin policy, regulation, and industry. Scientific excellence remains central to MASTS and helps to support the application of innovative research to underpin sustainable economic performance, climate change adaptation, and food, water and energy security. MASTS facilitates interdisciplinary cooperation, collaboration, and communication. As one of the UK's premier marine research consortiums, MASTS represents its members at national, UK, European and global level. Through their Graduate School, MASTS are also responsible for training our next generation of marine science leaders and researchers and holds one of the largest annual marine conferences in the UK.
Find out more about MASTS on their website - www.masts.ac.uk
The Scottish Oceans Institute
The Scottish Oceans Institute is a research organisation at the University of St Andrews. It studies the marine environment and its many aspects, from deep oceans to the coasts, and from those who use the sea, to the biological and physical processes that make the oceans function.
The institute aims to develop scholarships, commercialise research, and deliver advanced-level teaching. It is located on the site of the original Gatty Marine Laboratory, which was opened in 1896. The Gatty Marine Laboratory was founded by William McIntosh, a local who went on to become one of the leading zoologists of his generation.
Some of the work the institution is doing to address the challenges facing the marine environment include studying the effects of climate change on the oceans, developing new technologies to monitor and protect marine life, working with industry to develop sustainable fishing practices, and educating the public about the importance of the oceans.
The Scottish Association for Marine Science
Located in Oban on Scotland's western coast, the Scottish Association for Marine Sciences (SAMS) was founded in 1884 by Sir John Murray.
SAMS exists to understand the marine environment and its importance to society. We conduct research, educate the public, and work with policymakers to ensure that our seas and oceans are healthy and productive for future generations.
Among its research interests are ocean systems, where it studies the physical, chemical, and biological processes that drive the ocean. It also explores dynamic coasts, investigating how coasts are changing and how this impact the marine environment.
Another key area of focus is the 'Blue economy', in which they research the potential for sustainable economic development from the ocean.
SAMS works with universities, government agencies, businesses, and non-profit organisations to support its work and to understand the science behind keeping our seas and oceans healthy and productive for future generations.
Find out more about World Oceans Day here - https://www.un.org/en/observances/oceans-day