National Marine Aquarium
The National Marine Aquarium is an important UK charitable institution dedicated to raising awareness of the oceans, the life they contain and the ways by which humans affect them. Its main vehicle for attaining these aims is through Britain’s largest aquarium, containing Europe’s deepest exhibit tank; it carries out programmes of conservation, research and education. The National Marine Aquarium also embraces other aspects of the oceans including their exploration and exploitation and their interface with the atmosphere.
The location of the National Marine Aquarium in the City of Plymouth puts it at the centre of leading European research into marine science.
The city is home to a number of international institutions and a wealth of science expertise. The Plymouth Marine Sciences Partnership is a unique assemblage of marine expertise; specifically the National Marine Aquarium acts as a ‘shop window’ for marine science and has enjoyed fruitful partnerships with the PMSP as well as national and international conservation organisations, such as World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF), International Fund for Animal Welfare (IFAW), and government departments, most notably the UK Environment Agency.
A major output of the National Marine Aquarium is its direct work with the formal education system through schools and colleges over a wide area. A cross curricula approach is taken to satisfy the needs of the UK National Curriculum whilst at the same time putting forward the aims of the Aquarium. Subjects as seemingly unconnected as literacy and numeracy are used to great effect in getting messages across. Art and drama are key elements to helping students understand the principles of science through observation. The key to the approach is to be entertaining. Without entertainment there will be no engagement; through engagement comes knowledge; with knowledge follows understanding which leads to appreciation, concern and action.
The NMA is part of the PENCIL project, running the pilot project on climate change.