Sea Mammal Research Unit (SMRU)

Grey seals making an appearance
Grey seals making an appearance ©

As part of a coordinated approach to marine data management, BODC and SMRU have entered into a laboratory liaison programme.

More about SMRU

SMRU is a NERC collaborative centre and part of the University of St Andrews School of Biology. It specialises in the field of marine mammal biology. Over 50% of its research is concentrated on studying cetaceans – whales, dolphins and porpoises - and it also has a special responsibility to undertake research to underpin the Conservation of Seals Act 1970. This enables NERC to meet its statutory requirement to provide advice to UK Government about the management of seal populations.

Seal with a CTD tag attached
Seal with a CTD tag attached ©

SMRU's research spans a variety of disciplines, ranging from mammal behaviour and ecology to the designing and building of oceanographic instruments that are carried by seals. Its current strategic science priorities are

  • to evaluate the status of marine mammal populations
  • to investigate the importance of marine mammals as components of marine ecosystems
  • to determine the dynamics of marine mammal populations
  • to study marine mammal social structure and communication
  • to provide the technological basis for observing free-ranging marine mammals and their environment

SMRU also works closely with SMRU Marine, a wholly owned subsidiary of the University of St Andrews, which provides professional products and advice for a wide range of disciplines. These include environmental impact and risk assessments, instrumentation and marine mammal monitoring.

Sea Mammal Research Unit