Elizabeth Mills SRV - Marine Biological Association Visit
I applied for a PRIMaRE Short Research Visit grant to allow me to visit the Marine Biological Association (MBA) in Plymouth. Members of the Bishop Group at the MBA, John Bishop and Christine Wood, were generous enough to provide their time to host me during this visit. One of the focusses of the Bishop group is monitoring the invasive species spread across the UK, particularly the south coast of England. My PhD project at the University of Dundee is interdisciplinary between marine biology and engineering and is focussed on the modification of the surface of concrete to reduce invasive species colonisation. Confidence in my ability to carry out correct taxonomic identification of invasive marine organisms is therefore key, making the MBA a great choice for this visit. While I was there I was able to visit harbours around the Plymouth area, where I was shown over 10 invasive species in situ, as well as native species that may be confused with these invasive species. I was then able to bring specimens back into the laboratory where I learnt the microscopic identification of some species and taxonomic differences between the species. This training allowed me to become confident with my identification, and therefore will be very useful in my own project when recording the invasive species on the East Coast of Scotland. By the end of the visit, I was able to accompany John and Christine on an invasive species search, putting the knowledge I had learnt into practice and helping with their own data collection mapping invasive species on the south coast.
I was also to able to see the laboratory set up at the MBA, relevant to settlement trials of marine species, another part of my project. Being walked through the methods and to see the tank set up first hand was invaluable to my study. Overall this research trip provided a very valuable asset to my PhD, and great connections have been formed between Bishop group at the MBA and myself at Dundee University.