Marine Alliance for Science and Technology for Scotland


Every Wednesday at 13:00 UK time, plus a live Q&A with our speaker

MASTS is delighted to announce that we have collaborated with EMBRC: European Marine Biological Resource Centre to provide you a collective webinar series! These exclusive webinars include a live Q&A with the speaker and will all be recorded.
Last spring and summer, MASTS ran a series of weekly and publicly available webinars that were all very well received. Audiences joined from both within and outside the UK to listen to different speakers each week, and many would catch-up on our YouTube Channel.

MASTS wishes to continue promoting open and accessible marine science discourse and we are pleased to provide with our next round of speakers running until the end of June 2021.

Sign up for the below webinars here!
16 JuneDouglas SpeirsUniversity of Strathclyde, Scotland

Modeling zooplankton and fish in space and time, and under climate change

Marine zooplankton and fish species often have very wide, but continuous, geographic distributions in which individuals move or are transported by ocean currents over large distances. They also often have complicated life cycles involving physiologically different developmental stages. As a consequence, species can occur over an enormous range of environments, including food abundance and temperature, in which different life-history stages may respond variably. Combing these considerations in population models capable of capturing the dynamics of such species and their changing spatial distributions in response to changing environments poses serious modelling challenges. This talk will overview the development at the University of Strathclyde of an approach to combining physiological spatial structure in marine population models. Examples will be drawn from modelling and mesopelagic fish, and zooplankton in the Arctic under climate change.

23 JuneLuigia SantellaStazione Zoologica Anton Dohrn, Italy

What Happens when Sperm Meets Egg: A Revisitation of the Process

Much of the knowledge on the fertilization process comes from research on sea urchin and starfish eggs that are fertilized in seawater. Even if starfish and sea urchin eggs are physiologically ripe for fertilization at different meiotic stages, their initial response to fertilizing sperm includes virtually the same structural and biochemical changes, i.e., separation of the vitelline layer from the egg plasma membrane and an intracellular calcium increase. Studies from our laboratory have shown that these sperm-induced changes strongly depend on the structural organization of F-actin of the egg cortex, which undergoes restructuration upon sperm-egg interaction. Furthermore, the F-actin remodeling plays a crucial role in preventing the entry of multiple sperm and in ensuring successful embryonic development

30 JuneTamara GallowayUniversity of Exeter, England

Assessing the Impacts of Plastics

Plastic debris is a societal issue of global concern, illustrating the difficulties in balancing the convenience of plastic in daily life with the environmental degradation caused by careless disposal. The environment impacts of plastic extends beyond the end-of-life issues of litter; the carbon footprint of the plastics industry already exceeds that of air travel and shipping combined, and is set to grow hugely in future if current  methods of production and patterns of use continue.

This talk will provide an overview of our work at University of Exeter in determining the impacts of plastics. It will include a summary of the ecotoxicology of microplastics, their entry into the marine food web and the biological impacts this can lead to. The future of plastics is also considered, including how the Circular Economy can provide a more sustainable vision of the future, where new materials and business models are developed and plastics never become waste.

1 JulyMarie RussellMarine Scotland

Where are the floating microplastics in Scotland’s Seas?

Microplastics range in size from 1 µm to 5 mm and in the marine environment arise from two sources. Primary microplastics such as beads in personal care products or pre-production resin pellets or nurdles, which have been purposefully manufactured to be ‘micro’. The other is from the fragmentation or wear and tear of larger plastic items such as plastic bags, plastic bottles or fishing nets and lines – these are termed secondary microplastics. But ultimately the source of microplastics in the oceans is anthropogenic – humans produce, use and dispose of the plastics.

This is the first regional, multi-annual study of floating microplastics in Scotland’s seas. Sea surface samples were collected from 2014 to 2020 and evaluated for the presence of microplastics.
Microplastics were present in the surface waters of all Scottish Marine Regions and Offshore Marine Regions though almost 35% of sample sites contained no microplastics. Concentrations ranged from 0 to 91,128 microplastics km−2 sea surface. Potential hotspots were identified in the Clyde (0–77,168 microplastics km−2), Forth & Tay (0–83,729 microplastics km−2) and the Solway (607–91,128 microplastics km−2). Fragmented plastics accounted for almost 50% of the microplastics recovered and this may suggest that the microplastics in Scotland’s seas are predominantly from the breakdown of larger items.

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