• Sir John Murray was naturalist about the 1872-6 Challenger Expedition and is our founding father.
    Our history began in Edinburgh in 1884
    Our founding father: Sir John Murray
    Establishing the 'Scottish Marine Station' while editing the Challenger Expedition reports

Become a SAMS member

Anyone interested in the sea can become a SAMS member

SAMS is a charitable membership organisation to increase knowledge and education about the marine environment to benefit both the oceans and society.

Our members have always come from all walks of life: marine scientists and people working in the marine environment, lay enthusiasts, philanthropists, alumni, teachers, artists, students and school pupils.

What unites our members is

  • >an enduring interest in the marine environment
  • >a shared belief in the mission of maintaining an independent marine science organisation in Scotland
  • >wanting to keep up to date with our activities

If you share these values, why not join us? Joining SAMS as a member makes you part of the extended SAMS family. Currently we have around 300 members from all over the world.

Sea-ing the world differently: Ocean education

Since our beginnings in the 19th century public outreach has been a core activity. As champions for ocean literacy in Scotland we maintain a free visitor and outreach centre (Ocean Explorer Centre) and deliver outreach in schools, to community groups and at public events.

Our members are looked after by Pauline Clifford. Please contact Pauline for any issues relating to your membership.

Email: Pauline.Clifford@sams.ac.uk 

T: +44 (0) 1631 559 277

Postal address: SAMS, Dunbeg, Oban, Argyll PA37 1QA, Scotland, UK


Find out how we look after your data here.

Benefits of SAMS membership

  • >Supporting SAMS' public outreach, school education and professional fellowship and bursary programmes
  • >Exclusive access to bursaries of upto £1,000 for research in marine science
  • >Access to SAMS' Charles Wyville Thomson library (Mon-Fri 09:00-17:00)
  • >Access to hiring our conference facilities (corporate members only)
  • >Invitation to participate in SAMS seminars as visitor and/or speaker
  • >SAMS digital annual report 
  • >Digital Ocean Explorer Magazine 
  • >Invitation to annual event/s (AGM and Annual Newth Lecture)
  • >Right to vote for Council members and key amendments to Articles and Memorandum of Association

Membership categories and annual subscriptions

  • >Ordinary member (£12): for anyone with an enduring interest in marine science
  • >Ordinary member (£5): Unwaged including retired
  • >Student member (£5): open to persons under 18 years old or registered students (no voting rights)
  • >Corporate (£60): for organisations who want to support marine science. Please identify a corporate representative.

The membership year currently runs from 1st April - 31 March in line with our reporting year.

How to joins SAMS

  1. Fill in our online application form
  2. When you press 'submit' this will be sent to us and you will begin your membership

How to pay for your membership subscription

There are two ways:

  • >electronically in our online shop, selecting the appropriate category
  • >send a cheque made out to 'SAMS'

If you want to be invoiced for your membership instead and pay by BACS, then please contact Rachel.

Please note that the membership year runs from 1 April to 31 March but you can join anytime throughout the year.

How to renew your membership

We automatically renew your membership unless you tell us otherwise or do not pay following a reminder email or letter. For anyone not paying automatically by standing order, please use one of the above stated payment methods.

How to cancel your membership

Please notify us in writing of your intention to withdraw from SAMS membership. We would greatly appreciate some feedback why you do not want to remain a member as we do try within our means to provide you with a valuable membership experience.



  • >Coastal Zones: Solutions for the 21st Century (2015). Baztan, J, O Chouinard, B Jorgensen, P Tett, J-P Vanderlinden & L Vasseur, (Eds). Elsevier.
  • >Shared, Plural and Cultural Values: A Handbook for Decision-Makers (2014). Kenter, JO, et al. UNEP-WCMC, Cambridge. doi:10.13140/RG.2.1.4683.5281
  • >Fjord Systems and Archives (2011). JA Howe, WEN Austin, M Forwick and M Paetzel (Eds.), GSL Special Publications. 392 pp
  • >Sustaining Coastal Zone Systems (2011) Tett, P, A Sandberg & A Mette (Eds.). Dunedin Academic Press. Edinburgh.
  • >Black, K.D.(2008) Environmental aspects of aquaculture, in Aquaculture, Innovation and Social Transformation, (eds. K. Culver, D. Castle) Springer Science and Business Media B.V. 2008, pp 99-115
  • >The World Guide to Whale and Dolphin Watching (2006). Angus Wilson and Ben Wilson. Colin Baxter Photography Ltd. 288 p

SAMS Board

SAMS is governed by an independent non-executive Board that meets five times a year. Ultimate legal responsibility for SAMS' operations rests with the Board. The Board appoints the Director and delegates the running of SAMS to the Director and the executive team. The members of SAMS elect Board members and office bearers at the Annual General Meeting, that is usually held in early December (under review).

The Board is supported by a range of sub-committees:

Research, Enterprise & Innovation Commission (chair: Prof Colin Brownlees)

Education Committee (chair: Dr Deborah McNeill)

Communications & Engagement Committee (chair: Susan Watts)

Development Committee (chair: Lisa Chilton)

Finance Committe (chair: Eric Hollanders)

Audit Committee (chair: Joanne Hannah) - which monitors the integrity of financial reporting, internal controls and risk management systems, whistleblowing and internal audit and liaises with the external auditors



Governing documents

Articles of Association (last updated 2020)

Memorandum of Association


Non-executive trustees

SAMS board members sitting and standing in two rows in front of the SAMS entrance

Chair / Trustee

Diana Murray CBE (2019-2022;, 2021-2024)


Trustees / board members 

Professor John Baxter (2018-2021, 2021-2024)

Professor Colin Brownlee (2018-2021, 2021-2024)

Lisa Chilton (2018-2021, 2021-2024)

Ian Dunn (2016-2019, 2019-2022)

Dr Deborah McNeill (2018-2021, 2021-2024)

Colin Moffat (2021-2024)

Dr Magnus Nicolson (2019-2022)

Professor Richard Waites (2021-2024)

Susan Watts (2018-2021, 2021-2024)



Susan Waldron (UKRI-NERC), Morag Goodfellow (HIE), Professor Neil Simco (UHI), Danny Morrisson (HISA), Dr Clive Fox & Richard Dale (staff representatives)


Vice Presidents (previous Presidents / Chairs)

Professor Sir John Arbuthnott

Professor Geoffrey Boulton

Professor Andrew Hamnett


The SAMS executive team 

Director & Managing Director of SRSL

Professor Nicholas JP Owens

Deputy Director

Professor Axel EJ Miller 

Associate Director, Science and Research

Professor Ben Wilson

Associate Director, Science and Education

Professor Keith Davidson

Associate Director, Science, Enterprise and Innovation

Professor Michele Stanley

Head of Human Resources

Sue Johnson

Head of Enterprise

Mike Spain

Head of Financial Services

Aileen Overend


Company Secretary

Ann MacKenzie


Directors of SAMS Enterprise

Dr Pushkar Wadke

Professor Axel EJ Miller

Professor Nicholas JP Owens (chair)

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