New partnership with the St Abbs Marine Station

This collaboration will encourage innovative marine biology research in collaboration with the facility.


The University of Edinburgh has entered into a long-term partnership with St Abbs Marine Station in Berwickshire. St Abbs is a Scottish registered charity undertaking ground-breaking research across topics including aquaculture, fisheries science, ocean monitoring, impacts of anthropogenic stressors on marine organisms, and multistressor work with a focus on electromagnetic fields from offshore renewable energy. The University is deeply invested in not just the scientific studies undertaken at St Abbs, but also the ecological nexus of laws, stewardship, and policymaking which are tied to this research.

The University's side of this partnership has been led by Professors Murray Roberts and Sebastian Hennige from the School of Geosciences together with Professor Sinead Collins from the School of Biological Sciences, as well as Dr Ross Houston and Dr Tim Bean from the Aquaculture team. Both the University and St Abbs will undertake conservation and education activities and aim to initiate and coordinate joint research projects. The joint working group has several initial focus areas:

  • Developing standards for work on the impacts of electro-magnetic fields on marine life
  • Understanding multiple stressors including ocean warming, acidification and deoxygenation
  • Aquaculture genetics and husbandry, including restoration aquaculture
  • Raising awareness to increase opportunities for interdisciplinary marine research, teaching, and innovation
  • Using cutting edge techniques to study the biology of seas surrounding St Abbs.

Dr Kevin Scott has been the Marine Station Manager at St Abbs for the last seven years. In a talk delivered as part of the Roslin Institute’s Aquaculture seminar series, Kevin expressed enormous enthusiasm about the partnership and spoke to Edinburgh researchers about St Abbs’ mission and its impressive research facilities. There are more than 100 tanks within the facility, which benefit from a clear roof and flow-through seawater, meaning the conditions are as close to wild testing as is possible. Each tank is versatile, with the ability to change temperature and salinity at any time; this allows for excellent, non-invasive testing in true-to-life conditions. This provides a unique opportunity for studying the baseline biology of species crucial to UK aquaculture and fisheries.

St Abbs has also cultivated deep connections within Berwickshire, including with local fishermen, which grants them the field access they need to check on sea life beyond their own tanks (and is especially helpful to their work with crabs and lobsters). These relationships are a great asset and serve as a keen reminder to Kevin and his colleagues of just how immediate and relevant their research is to the environment in which they live and work.

St Abbs is a registered shellfish and finfish aquaculture facility as well as a coastal monitoring site for Marine Scotland. It is part of the Marine Alliance for Science and Technology for Scotland (MASTS) and is an approved training facility for EU higher education organisations. It’s a privilege to work so closely with the team at the St Abbs Marine Station and the Aquaculture team is thrilled by this opportunity.

More information about our partnership with the St Abbs Marine Station is available through this external link.

You can find more information about St Abbs through this external link to their website.

You can learn more about the Aquaculture seminar series through this link.