By Karolina Ininbergs

Cornish Pasties and Jellyfish at the MBA

Jellyfish at the MBA aquarium. Photo: Karen McNish
On Monday we were invited to the Marine Biology Association (MBA) and the Sir Alister Hardy Foundation for Ocean Science (SAHFOS) for lunch and a more extensive tour of the laboratories and SAHFOS. This was an excellent opportunity for crew members who missed the first tour. A beautiful table was set for us in the dining room, with a spectacular view overlooking the water.  We were treated to delicious local delicacies such as Cornish Pasty, yummy!

After lunch we were able to view the aquariums downstairs.  John Rundle, an MBA associate with more than 35 years of experience breeding aquatic animals, showed us some of the organisms they breed.  We saw different types of jellyfish, a very feisty octopus, and beautiful cuttlefish and dogfish. The team was excited to get up close to some of the ocean's larger organisms.

At SAHFOS, Dr. Chris Reid, the former director, led a more detailed tour and shared more details of their impressive work. Marine Technician Roger Barnard, who was doing maintenance on one of the instruments as we "invaded" his workshop, showed us the fine silk mesh that captures the plankton along with the mechanisms of the system. The plankton recorders used today basically look and work the same way as the original prototype designed by Sir Alister Hardy himself in the 1920s.

As a final stop on our tour we had a look at the microscopes where samples are analyzed and where Senior Research Fellow Dr. Alistair Lindley was working on identifying organisms. Dr. Lindley explained the interesting changes in plankton distribution that they have observed over the years due to changing currents and warming waters.

The team left the MBA and SAHFOS, sated with excellent food, wonderful hospitality, and incredibly interesting research.