University Marine Biological Station Millport
National Facility for Marine Biology Fieldwork
The University Marine Biological Station Millport (UMBSM) is located on the eastern shore of the Isle of Cumbrae in the Firth of Clyde. It is ideally situated for marine biological teaching and research, being sheltered and within easy reach of a variety of marine habitats, such as rocky, sandy and muddy shores, salt marshes, a large estuary, and deep water with soft mud, gravel and rocky bottoms. Despite this natural setting, Millport is only one hour's travel from major transport hubs.
UMBSM is formally an institute of the University of London. As well as providing marine biological teaching support for its parent university, the Station also has a substantial national rôle in providing facilities and logistical support for field teaching by universities throughout the UK. In recent years, this function has been broadened still further by hosting groups from schools and from European universities, drawn to UMBSM by the opportunity to study a rich marine fauna and flora at a centre with a combintation of residential accommodation, laboratory space, equipment, research vessels and diving facilities on one site.
UMBSM has a long tradition of high quality marine biological research, helped by encouraging visiting workers from laboratories in Britain and abroad. The Station's staff also look outwards for research connections, and have built up collaborative links with numerous countries in Europe, the Middle East, Australia and South-East Asia, as well as with government and university laboratories within the United Kingdom. There are also resident postgraduate students at Millport, who are registered either with London or Glasgow University.
Current research programmes include work on marine fisheries, biodiversity, marine fouling and marine microbiology.
Throughout its history the Station has supplied specimens of marine organisms to teachers and researchers, and, as other institutions have ceased to do so, this service has become increasingly important nationally. Material is regularly dispatched to some 60 laboratories and universities throughout the UK, often to users who have little idea of the source!
- The Station incorporates the Robertson Museum and aquarium, which are open to the public.
- UMBSM is a weather station for the Meteorological Office
- Sea surface temperature has been recorded daily at Keppel Pier since the early 1950s, providing an important dataset in the context of climate change.
- There has been an automated tide gauge at Millport since 1966. The present instrument is part of the National Tidal and Sea Level Facility. The tide gauge is also useful to local fieldwork in allowing depth measurements or shore levels to be referred to Chart Datum.
- The Station provides support to the National Health Service, by treating divers suffering from decompression illness in our recompression chamber.