The Marine Biological Association of the United Kingdom has a rich history which is reflected, and to a large extent recorded, in the archive material that it holds. For more than a century the Association has been influential through the scientific research of its resident staff, and that of the large number of visiting scientists who have taken advantage of the stimulating research environment and the great diversity of marine life found in local waters. Since its foundation, thirteen Nobel Prize winners and over one hundred and seventy Fellows of the Royal Society have carried out research at the Laboratory. The research programme has consequently produced fundamental advances in areas as diverse as the nutrient cycles in the ocean and the functioning of nerves and muscles in squid. The Association has also influenced the careers of many marine biologists through its active programme of education and training for graduates and undergraduates.
The archives are of considerable importance for the history of marine biology and physiology. They also provide fascinating insights into the evolution and development of a unique and highly productive Laboratory that has retained its dynamism and excitement through the many changes in external funding policies and organisational structures within which it has had to function
The catalogue of the MBA archives, and the related computer database produced by Allen Varley, provide an invaluable key to this rich source of material. I hope that the improved accessibility of this important archive will encourage a much wider use of this material for research.
Prof Michael Whitfield