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Marine Alliance for Science and Technology for Scotland

Aquatic Stressors Forum

Welcome to the MASTS Aquatic Stressors Forum

This Forum provides an integrated platform to promote research, monitoring, training and enhanced understanding of the effects of environmental (single or preferably multiple) stressors, both natural and anthropogenic, on aquatic organisms and communities.
Investigations into stressor impacts range from empirical through to restoration and governance perspectives. The Forum is a centre for dialogue and networking and offers
expertise, collaboration and advice.

Forum News & Resources
Background & Objectives

Environmental stressors include any physical, chemical or biological factor that negatively impact organisms at individual, population, community or ecosystem levels. The range of possible aquatic stressors encompass chemical (incl. oil and oilfield relates, nanoparticles, microplastics and litter), noise, electrical and light pollution as well as climate change-related parameters, such as water temperature, pH and salinity, furthermore fishery and changes in species interactions, such as predation and resource competition. Our knowledge of whether and how different stressors interact is minimal, which is a major obstacle to adequately considering multiple stressors in routine environmental risk assessments.  

  • Creating and maintaining an inter- and trans- disciplinary network across the MASTS community supporting MASTS members as partners for consortium bids, while engaging with external partners.
  • Providing the Scottish Government with a contact point for up-to-date advice on the impact of environmental stressors in Scottish waters to inform relevant policies.

Travel bursaries awarded to PGRs/ECRs in 2024
The Forum awarded 4 travel bursaries to representatives from Heriot-Watt University, the University of the West of Scotland, the University of Edinburgh and the University of Aberdeen.

MASTS Annual Science Meeting 2023, Glasgow – Special Session on “Multiple Aquatic Stressors”
Take a look at last year’s conference abstracts here!

Coastaline with sand dunes and mountains

Frances Orton
– Heriot-Watt University

Associate Professor | School of Energy, Geoscience, Infrastructure and Society

Interests: Freshwater (FW) ecotoxicology & protection of FW biota from threatening processes | Use of environmentally realistic exposure scenarios

Karen Diele
– Edinburgh Napier University

Professor of Marine Ecology | Head of the ENU Centre for Conservation and Restoration Science (CCRS)

Interests: Coastal ecosystems | Benthic marine invertebrates | Responses to environmental change

Steering Group

Catriona Harris (University of St Andrews), Daniel MerckelHannah Anderson (Marine Directorate), Mark Hartl (Heriot-Watt University), Matthew Wale (Edinburgh Napier University) and Sinead Collins (University of Edinburgh).

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MASTS Resources

We’re working behind the scenes to bring you a suite of useful, and updateable, resources including: 

  • Find an expert
  • Find facilities & equipment
  • MASTS Publications


If you would like to be updated when the resources section is live please let us know.