A university is planning a new £10 million marine laboratory to provide a global hub for research focused on understanding the effects of climate change on the world’s oceans.
The University of St Andrews said the lab will help cement Scotland’s reputation as a world leader in oceanic research and species protection.
Bosses have commissioned designs for a new 2,256sq metre building and an aquarium that they said will be the most technologically advanced in the UK.
The site at East Sands in St Andrews will replace the Gatty Marine facility.
It will be the permanent base of the Scottish Oceans Institute, which includes the Sea Mammal Research Unit, and the executive office of the Marine Alliance for Science and Technology for Scotland.
Professor Garry Taylor, acting principal at St Andrews, said: “The rebuilding of the Gatty is a high priority in our strategic plan.
“Marine research has taken place here for over 100 years, but its potential has now substantially outgrown the reality of its present facilities.
“By investing in a new state-of-the-art facility, we are investing in the highest quality of international marine research and the reputation of St Andrews and Scotland as leaders and pioneers in this increasingly important branch of science.” Welcoming plans for the laboratory, WWF Scotland director Lang Banks said: “Healthy oceans are important for wildlife and the many coastal communities that depend on them for a living.
“However, rising temperatures and increased acidification caused by climate change put all this at risk.
“Hopefully this laboratory will help us better understand how to address these and other challenges facing our marine environment.
“Given the importance of the marine environment to Scotland’s economy, as we approach this May’s elections we call on all of the political parties to commit to measures that will ensure the good environmental condition of seas surrounding Scotland by 2020.”