MASTS Outreach

MASTS members are regularly involved in disseminating their research and activities. If you are interested in participating in, or indeed organising a MASTS associated outreach event, please get in touch.

MASTS has video display equipment for hire that can be used at events, click here for further information. MASTS also has an intertidal touch tank, click here for more details.

Fuelling the Future

The NAFC Marine Centre has created outreach material for their project "Fuelling the Future" which is focused on conducting outreach in Shetland on the use of kelp as a renewable energy resource. The booklet contains information on different types of UK seaweed as well as instructions for fun activities and experiments. Please click here to download.

Where MASTS be undertaking outreach activities in 2016:
Previous MASTS outreach:
  • Greyhope Bay Community and Family Fun Day Outreach at Greyhope Bay (13th May 2017). The MASTS touch tank once again travelled up the A90 to Aberdeen this time appearing at an event in support of Greyhope Bay, a charitable organisation progressing plans for a bold £10 million capital project that will change the face of the city and connect Aberdeen with its unique coastal location, bustling harbour and charismatic wildlife (our dolphins). Over 3,000 Aberdeen residents visited the event which was an overwhelming success. The touch tank even featured in an article on the event in the following Monday's Press & Journal.
  • Dundee Science Festival's 'Animals & the Environment' Weekend at the Dundee Science Centre (5th-6th November 2016). The MASTS touch tank was one of the attractions at this 2 day event alongside cetacean related activities put on by the SOI's Sea Mammal Research Unit. Volunteers from the MASTS community and the School of Biology introduced visitors to velvet swimming crabs, common starfish, mussels, kelp and a pair of very large brown crabs. Around 800 Dundonians visited the centre over the weekend.
  • Under the Sea Family Fun Day which took place at the Aberdeen Maritime Museum (13th July 2016). The MASTS touch tank's first visit to the 'Granite City' gave 120 children (and parents) the opportunity to meet some of the marine invertebrates living around Scotland's coasts and ask questions of our team of volunteers (a huge thank you to Paul, Amy, Kate, Nicola, Michael and Thom for giving up their time). The day was a big success with the touch tank proving very popular (some visitor feedback below);
    • "My children really enjoyed all of the activities especially the touch tank."
    • "Excellent – plenty to do for very little expense. Highlights definitely Punch and Judy show and the touch tank."
    • "Excellent – touch tanks were fab – very knowledgeable people. Table with whale oil/bone etc (museum object handling) was very educational. Little one loved the puppet show."
    • "We loved the sea animals."
  • Glasgow Science Festival's Family Days at the Kelvingrove Art Gallery and Museum (11th and 12th June 2016). The MASTS touch tank made its second appearance at the Kelvingrove Art Gallery and Museum during Glasgow Science Festival. Around 500 visitors had the opportunity to learn about the creatures that inhabit the waters around Scotland and get up close to starfish, crabs and shellfish.
  • Fife Science Festival's Science Celebration Event at Cowdenbeath Leisure Centre (Sunday 8th May 2016). The MASTS touch tank made its first appearance at the Fife Science Festival where 500 Fifers, children and adults alike, took the opportunity to meet starfish, hermit crabs, spider crabs, Velvet swimmers and of course a couple of marine biologists.
  • Habitat Explorers (19th March 2016). The MASTS touch tank was one of the main attractions at this one day event hosted by the Anstruther Fisheries Museum as part of British Science Week. Around 70 kids (and parents) took advantage of the opportunity to meet the invertebrate marine life living just offshore and ask questions of the marine scientists manning the tank, even the weather was in a good mood!
  • Dunbar Science Festival (5th-6th March 2016). The MASTS intertidal touch tank made its second appearance at the Dunbar Science Festival manned by researchers and students from Heriot Watt University.
  • Dundee Science Festival's Curious Creatures Family Fun Day at the Dundee Science Centre (8th November 2015) - On a very wet and windy Sunday the touch tank formed part of the activities laid on for the 2015 Dundee Science Festival's Curious Creatures event. Children and adults alike enjoyed interacting with a variety of marine invertebrates and asking question of the MASTS volunteers. With 702 visitors recorded a fun day was had by all despite the weather.
  • Bang Goes The Borders Science Festival at St Mary's School, Melrose (19th September 2015) - Staff from the St Abbs Marine Station (MASTS' most recent associate member) took the touch tank to the fifth annual Bang Goes The Borders Science Festival where kids large and small had the opportunity to meet some of the marine inhabitants of local Scottish waters.
  • Alien Invasion Touch Tank Days at the Scottish Seabird Centre, North Berwick (10th July and 13th August 2015) – These events gave Seabird Centre visitors the chance to see a variety of local marine creatures, including sea urchins, shore crabs, horse mussels and starfish, as well as the opportunity to drop-in at the Heriot-Watt cartoon lab to create their own alien character.
  • MOANA - The Rising of the Sea (6th-14th June 2015). As part of the MOANA - The Rising of the Sea event highlighting the impact of climate change on Pacific island communities the MASTS touch tank was installed at the Byre Theatre, St Andrews. Local St Andrews school children from Wormit Primary School, St Leonards and Madras College enjoyed learning about the starfish, Hermit crabs, brittlestars and molluscs that live in their local waters.
  • Festival of the Sea (23rd May 2015). The touch tank travelled to Oban's North Pier for the 2015 Festival of the Sea. Over 200 visitors got up close and personally with Sunstars, sea urchins, King scallops, shore crabs and of course marine biologists.
  • DEEP (Dornoch Firth Environmental Enhancement Project ) Shifting the baseline for MPA management (30th April 2015). The Royal Society of Edinburgh played host to this event where 60 marine scientists, business and government agency representatives disscussed environmental enhancement within Marine Protected Areas (MPAs). Particularly, the potential of shifting the baseline from protecting what is there now to restoring what could be. The MASTS touch tank was installed for the event to actively demonstrate those species examined under the project.
  • Dunbar Science Festival (7th-8th March 2015). The MASTS intertidal touch tank made its first appearance at the Dunbar Science Festival. Manned by researchers and students from Heriot Watt University the event was attended by approximately 3,500 people the majority of whom enjoyed engaging with the touch tank and MASTS scientists.
  • Stirling International Angling Festival (9th-10th August 2014). The MASTS intertidal touch tank was deployed for the duration of the inaugral festival's Hub event. It was manned by representatives of the MASTS Elasmobranch community project and was widely regarded as the events most popular attraction.

  • University of St Andrews Bioblitz (13th-14th June 2014). This 24 hour event invited members of the public to assist university researchers to record as many species of plants and animals as possible around East Sands, St Andrews. The touch tank was deployed and utilised to house organisms gathered from teh surrounding rocky shores. The SOI foyer was open to the public with volunteers on hand to introduce them to rocky shore animals.

  • Glasgow Science Festival (7th-8th June 2014) at Kelvingrove Art Gallery and Museum. As part of Glasgow Science Festival's Family Fun Weekend, the MASTS intertidal touch tank was installed in the museum's education zone. In addition to the touch tank, MASTS community scientists from Glasgow University engaged with the public on the topics of ocean acidification and how animals and nature shape our shorelines. MASTS graduate students acted as ambassadors, assisiting with the touch tanke and providing short talks on marine science. The weekend was a great success with nearly 600 people taking part in MASTS activities.

  • The Scottish Sea Angling Conservation Network at the Sea Life Aquarium, Loch Lomond. 10th-11th May 2014. This was the first outing for the new MASTS intertidal touch tank. Over 400 visitors attended this event, with over a third of these participating directly with the touch tank activities.

  • Future Seas” exhibition as part of the Edinburgh International Science Festival. Located in a prime position in the Museum of Scotland, our various exhibits were probably seen by in excess of 100,000 visitors. A combination of dedicated MASTS Graduate Students and a few other members of the MASTS community invested enormous energy and enthusiasm talking not only about their own research interests, but those of others in MASTS and marine life more generally (March/April 2013).

  • Marine Science Caberet Evening hosted by Quentin Cooper on 27th March 2013. Snappy presentations punctuated by some stunning graphics explored food and energy security and the role of the marine environment, using marine mammals to explore our oceans, together with a series of related presentations based on the use of novel tagging technologies to track the behaviour of everything from sharks to sea birds. Fascination with the deep sea appears to be universal and the dream team from Aberdeen did not disappoint with video sequences of fish and giant amphipods. And, everything you ever wanted to know about reform of the Common Fisheries Policy but were afraid to ask is always a blast. The potentially sobering demise of seal populations through intoxication by algae clearly made an impression on the audience. All Cabarets must have a finale! Enter stage left – Sea Bird Spies with Hip Hop Vibes! Crawford and Owen of the RSPB performed (mimed) a catchy duet - starting with the serious business of understanding sea bird behaviour and ending with the even more serious business of lobbying politicians whilst dressed in puffin costumes outside the Scottish Parliament.

  • Talk by Lili Lieber (MASTS PhD student) at Macduff Aquarium during Shark Week (October 2013).
  • Heriot Watt Colleagues are involved with the Dunbar Science festival and the Orkney Science Festival.
  • Jen Loxton (MASTS PhD student) helps at Natural History Museum Late Nights - every few months,  interact with approx 100 adults, hosting a stall with bryozoans and microscopes.