Plymouth Marine Laboratory

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Plymouth Marine Laboratory
Plymouth Marine Laboratory logo.png
Established 1988
Field of research
Marine science research centre
Staff 122
Students 30
Address Prospect Place
Location Plymouth, Devon, England
Affiliations Natural Environment Research Council

Plymouth Marine Laboratory (sometimes referred to as PML) in the city of Plymouth, England is an independent collaborative centre of the Natural Environment Research Council (NERC). PML's Chairman is Admiral Sir James Burnell-Nugent and PML's Chief Executive is Prof. Stephen de Mora.

They focus global issues of global warming and sustainability. They monitor the effects of ocean acidity on corals and shellfish and report this information to the UK government. It also cultivates algae that could be used to make biofuels or in the treatment of waste water by using technology such as photo-bioreactors. They work alongside the Boots Group to investigate the usage of algae in skin care protects, because of their content of compounds that adapt to protect themselves from the sun.[1]

Within its Seawater Hall, PML contains an in-house, fully contained, algal scale-up pilot plant; which contains a 550 L biofence Photobioreactor and a 1200 L Raceway pond system, as well as a range of smaller bubble column reactor systems at 3.5 L and 11 L capacity, for smaller scale algal production. [2] These facilities are regularly used to generate dried algal biomass on the scale of grams to hundreds of grams. This algal innovation centre also investigates a range of downstream processing techniques for algal harvesting. In addition to large-scale investigations, PML also has a Single Cell Genomics facility: a dedicated clean room environment for single cell isolation, equipped with a high speed Atomic Force Microscope, cell sorting capability through a BD FACSARIA and a number of liquid handling machines.

PML has a wholly owned trading subsidiary, PML Applications Ltd, which has been created to facilitate the exploitation and application of PML research and its products and to provide a more appropriate interface for working with end users, industrial and commercial partners.[citation needed]

Core Capabilities: Biogeochemistry and systems science, Health of the environment and human health, Sustainable ecosystems and biodiversity

Cross-cutting capabilities: Earth observation, Modelling, Microbial ecology, Molecular science, Blue biotechnology, Technical solutions, Socio-economics, Policy advice


The Plymouth Marine Laboratory was founded in 1988, mainly due to the recommendations of a House of Lords Report. It was formed by drawing some elements of the Laboratory of the Marine Biological Association (MBA) with the NERC Institute for Marine Environmental Research (IMER).

On 1 April 2002, PML changed from being a wholly owned NERC research centre to an independent organisation with charitable status.


Founding member of the Plymouth Marine Sciences Partnership (PMSP)

Partner in the National Centre for Ocean Forecasting (NCOF)

Member of the Peninsular Microbiology Forum

Co-ordinator of the Atlantic Meridional Transect (AMT)

Member of the Natural Environment Research Council's Oceans 2025 programme

Member and Secretariate host of the Partnership for Observation of the Global Oceans (POGO)

Non-country partners of the Partnerships in Environmental Management for the Seas of East Asia (PEMSEA)

Member of the Marine Biodiversity and Ecosystem Functioning (MarBEF) EU Network of Excellence


  1. ^ "The Plymouth Marine Laboratory". South West England RDA. Retrieved 2008-12-12. 
  2. ^ Hamilton, ML; Warwick, J; Terry, A; Allen, MJ; Napier, JA; Sayanova, O (14 December 2015). "Towards the Industrial Production of Omega-3 Long Chain Polyunsaturated Fatty Acids from a Genetically Modified Diatom Phaeodactylum tricornutum.". PloS one. 10 (12): e0144054. PMID 26658738. 

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Coordinates: 50°21′57″N 4°08′52″W / 50.36583°N 4.14778°W / 50.36583; -4.14778