Ocean and Earth Science, National Oceanography Centre Southampton

Research Group: Marine Biology and Ecology

The Marine Biology and Ecology Research Group at Southampton performs leading edge strategic and applied interdisciplinary research across a range of model organisms and ecosystems, from the coast to the deep ocean and from the tropics to the poles. Our research couples powerful experimentation with theory and observation at a range of spatial and temporal scales in order to establish generality and provide novel insights that inform globally relevant issues. We focus on concepts of marine biodiversity-ecosystem functioning within the context of environmental change and anthropogenic forcing, and in the understanding of the interactive effects of multiple drivers of change on organisms and ecosystems.

Currently Active: Yes

Group Overview

In Marine Biology and Ecology we recognize that the future will not be like the recent past, and our goal is to understand how the interactions between natural and human systems will shape the marine biosphere. We are a large and diverse group, including 30 principal investigators and 60 postdoctoral and PhD researchers, that benefit from expertise in ecological theory, physiology, immunology, biology, ecology and environmental processes. We have particular strengths in the following research foci:

  • Species behaviour.
  • Biology and population ecology of marine organisms.
  • Community and evolutionary ecology.
  • Marine ecosystem dynamics.
  • Eco-physiology and immunology.
  • Molecular biology.
  • Habitat mapping.
  • Effects of marine infrastructure.
  • Invasive species and species distributions.
  • Biodiversity and ecosystem functioning.
  • Coastal, estuarine, open ocean and deep ocean biology and ecology.
  • Effects of environmental change, including warming, ocean acidification, hypoxia and other drivers of change.
  • Concepts of ecosystem services with respect to socio-economic benefits, management and policy decisions.

Our work is supported by state-of-the-art facilities, including dedicated mesocosms for pelagic , benthic and reef ecosystems, remotely operated vehicles and landers, hyperbaric chambers, molecular and biogeochemistry equipments, ecophysiology and molecular laboratories, aquarium and access to research vessels. The group has a significant and diverse portfolio of research income, and we work with a range of stakeholders and end users.


Dr. Martin Solan

Hydrothermal vent

Observations in a variety of systems, from the coast to the deep ocean

Hydrothermal vent

Aurelia aurita jellyfish

Physiological, immunological and behavioural studies

Aurelia aurita jellyfish

Manipulative experiments

Manipulative experiments to establish generalities

Manipulative experiments

Other University of Southampton sites


Selected publications associated with this group from the University of Southampton's electronic library (e-prints):


Members of staff associated with this group:


Facilities linked to Marine Biogeochemistry include:

Research Vessels

We have two vessels based at NOCS that are available to staff and students of Ocean and Earth Science. R.V. Callista and R.V. Bill Conway.

Research Aquarium

We have a multi-use aquarium, with a variety of tanks and facilities for keeping and handling live specimens. In the entrance, large observation tanks contain different biotopes, displaying animals from a variety of habitats, including seagrass beds and rocky shores.

Pressure Lab

The pressure lab enables us to study deep-sea organisms under pressurised conditions.

Coral Reef Laboratory

The coral reef laboratory propagates and studies more than 40 species of cnidarians in a multi-compartment aquarium system circulating more than 4200 litres of artifical seawater.

Scanning Electron Microscope Facility

This facility provides a range of services including, secondary electron and backscattered electron imaging, automated image acquisition, qualitative and quantitative elemental spot analysis and elemental mapping.

Carbonate Chemistry Facility

The NERC funded facility analyses seawater samples for carbonate variables, and has state-of-the-art instrumentation. We also undertake carbonate chemistry calculations following total alkalinity and dissolved inorganic carbon analysis, providing pCO2, pH and other carbonate chemistry variables.