Scottish Association for Marine Science

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Coordinates: 56°27′04″N 5°26′27″W / 56.45115°N 5.440741°W / 56.45115; -5.440741

Scottish Association for Marine Science
SAMS UHI logo.jpg
Type Research Institute
Established 1884
Location Oban, Argyll, Scotland
Director Prof N Owens
Affiliations University of the Highlands and Islands
National Oceanography Centre
Aerial view of Scottish Association for Marine Science showing its location on the shores of Loch Linnhe, Scotland
Scottish Association for Marine Science. The institute is sited on the Scottish west coast, close to a wide range of marine habitats.

The Scottish Association for Marine Science (SAMS) is one of Europe's leading marine science research organisations and one of the oldest oceanographic organisations in the world. Sited beside Dunstaffnage Castle, in Argyll, Scotland, the institute carries out advanced research in the marine environment, including polar research in the Arctic[1] and Antarctic.


In addition to marine research, in the fields of marine processes and climate change, renewable energy, the Arctic, marine prosperity and sustainability, and mining impacts, the institute has a commercial branch and an education department.

SAMS hosts the National Facility for Scientific Diving[2] and the Culture Collection of Algae and Protozoa[3]

It is an independent collaborative centre of the Natural Environment Research Council (NERC)[4] and an academic partner to the UHI Millennium Institute. It officially became part of the University of the Highlands and Islands in February 2011.

SAMS is also a member of the Marine Alliance for Science and Technology for Scotland (MASTS), and leads the MASTS Graduate School.

Degree Programmes[edit]

UHI students study for the B.Sc.(Hons) in Marine Science, with the option of a marine science degree with Arctic Studies, for Masters degrees, including the two year Erasmus Plus Joint Master Degree in Aquaculture, Environment and Society (ACES) and for Ph.D.s and are mostly based at the station. Undergraduate students are posted there for at least three of their four years.[5][6]


The Association was founded following the landmark Challenger expedition during the 1870s. The Scottish Marine Station, as it was known back then, was the first of such "marine stations" set up in Scotland. It grew quickly and just three years later, Millport Marine Station (now University Marine Biological Station Millport) was founded to further the research.[7]

The site that SAMS now occupies was first developed by the Scottish Marine Biological Association in the late 1960s as a replacement for their outdated laboratory facilities in Millport, Isle of Cumbrae.

The research laboratories at Dunstaffnage were rebuilt and re-equipped in 2004 and new teaching facilities were provided in 2010.[8]

The Ocean Explorer Centre, at Dunbeg, allows visitors to learn about the marine environment and the academic research going on at SAMS.[9]


External links[edit]