Dunstaffnage Marine Laboratory

Dunstaffnage Marine Laboratory

Founded in the late 19th century, the Scottish Association for Marine Science (SAMS) belongs to the first generation of European marine laboratories. It is now located at Dunstaffnage Marine Laboratory near Oban, in the West Highlands of Scotland, on the Firth of Lorne, one of the largest fjord / sea loch systems in Scotland.

The Scottish Association for Marine Science, located in Oban on the Scottish west coast, is an independent research organisation and learned society based at the Scottish Marine Institute (SMI). SAMS pursue the mission to deliver research and education to improve our understanding and sustainable use of the marine environment. The Scottish Marine Institute also houses wholly owned subsidiaries of SAMS, SAMS Research Services Limited (SRSL) and the European Centre for Marine Biotechnology.

Research: 4 departments: Biogeochemistry and Earth Science, Ecology, Microbial and Molecular Biology and Physics Sea Ice and Technology. 4 thematic areas: Arctic Seas, Dynamic Oceans, Marine Renewables and People and the Sea. And also the National Facility for Scientific Diving (NFSD) and applied Research Centres Marine Bioenergy Scotland, Centre for Sustainable Coasts, Centre for Industrial Ocean Impacts and Centre for Smart Observation Techniques.

Laboratories: Research laboratories rebuilt and re-equipped in 2004 with new teaching facilities provided in 2010.


  • Platforms equipped with state-of-the-art facilities and for analytical chemistry, geology, microbiology and molecular biology, and ecology.
  • The Alan Ansell Research Aquarium offers indoor and outdoor facilities for the culture of vertebrate and invertebrate organisms and large scale experiments.

Marine facilities: 2 inshore research vessels (Calanus and Seol Mara) and a fast inshore RHIB. Numerous and diverse field sampling equipment and seagoing instrumentation, oceanographic AUVs, and benthic landers for deep sea biogeochemical studies are available. SAMS also provides divers, equipment, training and scientific/technical support for universities and research institutes throughout the UK, thanks to the in situ National Facility for Scientific Diving (NFSD).

Main marine model organisms: Marine micro-organisms (microalgae, bacteria, protozoans, phytoplankton and other eukaryotic protists), Macro-algae, Marine invertebrates (cold water corals, annelids, echinoderms (sea urchin, sea cucumber), Zooplankton, and Marine vertebrates (cold water marine fish, cetaceans).

The Culture Collection for algae and Protozoa (CCAP), the world’s most diverse culture collection of 3000 strains of marine and freshwater protists, provides cultures and advice on their growth, training, taxonomic and patent depository services as well as carrying out research cryopreservation. Please consult Guidelines and Conditions before applying.


Application form here.



The Scottish Association for Marine Science
Dunstaffnage Marine Laboratory
Oban, Argyll PA37 1QA
Scotland, United Kingdom
Phone   +44-1631-559000
Fax       +44-1631-559001

Web site:

Contact person: John Day (