The mission of the SOI is to bring together the people, interdisciplinary skills and supporting scientific services necessary to deliver world-class research in marine sciences. The scientific staff includes research-active principal investigators, research fellows and assistants, technicians and engineers, PhD and MSc students plus other support staff. SOI hosts the Directorate of the Marine Alliance for Science and Technology for Scotland (MASTS), and is a founding partner in the European Marine Biology Resource Centre (EMBRC). Our research programme addresses some of the challenges in marine science of high importance to society at large, including climate change, food security, biodiversity and ecosystem services, marine noise and marine mammal conservation. The SOI has particular enabling strengths in the design and manufacture of animal-borne sensors and instrumentation and in the development of statistical methods in ecology.  The research undertaken by individual staff members is described under the themes of “Developmental & Evolutionary Genomics”, “Ecology, Fisheries & Resource Management”, “Global Change & Planetary Evolution” and “Sea Mammal Biology”. 

SOI offers TA services for ASSEMBLE Plus and USTAN is an associated British partner in the consortium.
Please note that SOI research infrastructures and services are called USTAN in the ASSEMBLE Plus application system.


  • North Sea rocky shore, sandy beach and estuarine mudflats, saltmarsh, seagrass and freshwater habitats


Ecosystem access

  • Research vessel, including daily use of a specialist, highly robust (6-m aluminium-hulled) vessel for operation in shallow waters at high speeds. The vessel has been designed and equipped to capture seals
  • Research vessel including daily use of 5-m RIB equipped with hydrophone capability for tracking whales and dolphins in coastal regions

Both vessels are transportable by road to any part of Europe and will be accompanied by fully qualified crew.

  • Local access to estuaries, and sandy and rocky coasts


Biological resources

  • Intertidal flora and fauna


Experimental facilities and technology platforms

  • Marine, freshwater and brackish aquarium facilities for holding and /or experimenting on algae, invertebrates and fish
  • Provision of satellite and GSM relayed data loggers for deployment on marine mammals or gliders including measurement of pressure, salinity, temperature, fluorescence, turbidity depending up the configuration.
  • Passive acoustic tags for marine mammals
  • Passive acoustic monitoring equipment for remote monitoring of marine acoustic environments and real-time transmission of data to a ground station via GSM or satellite
  • 8 m seawater flume supported by ADV and PIV systems
  • Field equipment and operators for sediment geotechnical and ecological survey (GIS mapping, side-scan sonar, sediment stability, invertebrate biodiversity, microphytobenthos diversity and biomass (fluorescence techniques).
  • Holding and experimenting on seals. Daily use of the whole facility with access to up to 6 animals, held to appropriate standards. The facility carries a licence to operate as a European animal experimental facility.
  • The use of a modern 100 m2 laboratory with access to advanced microscopes (light, confocal, ambient and cryo-SEM) and equipment for molecular biology and biochemical analysis.
  • Bacterial and biofilm studies, supported by molecular capability
  • Replicated mesocosm systems for medium term incubation of bacteria, foraminifera, microphytobenthos etc.


Associated services

  • The facility carries a licence to operate as a European animal experimental facility

Local accommodation and student residences available. Advice on request.


Aerial view of the Scottish Oceans Institute.


View from Harbour Pier towards St Andrews.

Scottish Oceans Institute, University of St Andrews
East Sands
St Andrews
KY16 8LB
United Kingdom
Liaison officer: Jane Williamson (, cc to:

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