Work of university researchers is set to music

Marine Science you can sing along to

Date posted

12 June 2018


Edinburgh Napier research aimed at unravelling the mysteries of sea life has been transformed into music for a public performance.

The university has been collaborating with St Abbs Marine Station in Berwickshire as a base for studies of the marine environment. The harbour-side facility provides training for marine scientists and tackles local, regional and global marine issues.

Now research carried out over the last three years will be celebrated in song as part of the Echoes production in the nearby Ebba Centre on Monday June 18.

The event will include the first performance of Stormsong 1881, written and performed by local school pupils. The Eyemouth disaster in October of that year saw 189 fishermen drowned after a massive storm battered south-east Scotland.

The show – which celebrates women in music and science – also features two musical representations of the work of Edinburgh Napier marine ecologist Dr Karen Diele.

It will include a performance of A Lament for Invertebrates, by singer and composer Frances M Lynch, Artistic Director of Minerva Scientifica, which is based on Dr Diele’s research on man-made underwater noise with Napier students and colleague Dr Rob Briers, and with colleagues from St Abbs Marine Station and Heriot-Watt University. The song captures the distress of mussel, squid, urchin and scampi at the growing undersea din. 

A second Frances M Lynch song – Oh! Mangrove Crab - Deep in the Mud – set to a punchy Latin American rhythm, tells the story of a separate research project of Dr Diele in Brazil.

This project involves the development of a smartphone app at Edinburgh Napier which enables the Brazilian public to feed back information which helps scientists develop a fuller understanding of the crabs’ breeding patterns to improve existing fisheries management and the fishers’ livelihoods.

Dr Diele, who will also give a short talk at the Ebba Centre event on June 18, said: “It is quite unusual to hear your research set to music, but it is a good thing if it gets the public interested in our work and aware of the stressors that marine species encounter in today’s world. And it’s fantastic seeing children learning about and performing as crab fishers to the catchy tune of the Mangrove Crab song.”

Entry to Echoes at the Ebba Centre, St Abbs, on Monday 18 June at 6.30pm is by donation, with a suggested amount of £5 for adults and £2.50 for children. To book a place email: 

St Abbs Marine Station has an agreement with Edinburgh Napier and Heriot-Watt Universities to collaborate on a broad range of research matters. The three partners are members of MASTS, the Marine Alliance for Science and Technology for Scotland, which has been funding some of the featured research.

Dedicated to marine science, conservation and education, the St Abbs Marine Station boasts a research area for aquaria, a separate 100,000-litre mesocosm tank, laboratory and office space.

Listen to the tracks below:

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