• 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

Join the SAMS Clan

Anyone interested in the sea can become a SAMS supporter

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

Our supporters 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 clan 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? Currently we have around 300 supporters 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 supporters 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 becoming a SAMS supporter

  • >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 (Annual Newth Lecture)

Supporter categories and annual subscriptions

  • >Ordinary supporter (£12): for anyone with an enduring interest in marine science
  • >Ordinary supporter (£5): Unwaged including retired
  • >Student supporter (£5): open to persons under 18 years old or registered students (no voting rights)

Corporate organisations looking to support SAMS can find information here.


How to joins SAMS

  1. Fill in our online application form
  2. When you press 'submit' this will be sent to us and you become a clan supporter

How to pay for your 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 instead and pay by BACS, then please contact Pauline.

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

How to renew

We automatically renew your subscription 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

Please notify us in writing of your intention to withdraw from the SAMS Clan. We would greatly appreciate some feedback why you no longer want to support us as we do try within our means to provide you with a valuable 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 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: Dr Ian Jardine) - 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

SAMS Articles of Association (last updated 2023)

Memorandum of Association


Latest Annual Report

2021-22 annual report


Non-executive trustees


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)

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)

Douglas Wallace (2003-)

Adam Christie (2003-)

Alun Williams (2003-)

Ian Jardine (2003-)


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


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

Hazel Farnell

Head of Enterprise

Mike Spain

Head of Financial Services

John Barrie


Company Secretary

Ann MacKenzie


Directors of SAMS Enterprise

Dr Pushkar Wadke

Professor Axel EJ Miller

Professor Nicholas JP Owens (chair)

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