A research facility located quarter-mile (0.5 km) north of the village of Dunstaffnage (Argyll and Bute) on the shores of Dunstaffnage Bay, the Dunstaffnage Marine Laboratory is home to the Scottish Association for Marine Science. A world-class research facility, the laboratory is owned by the association and operated in conjunction with the Natural Environment Research Council (NERC). The laboratory is a partner in the federated University of the Highlands and Islands (UHI). It runs research ships, which operate around the globe, and is involved in a range of projects in marine science, biodiversity, climate change and human impact on the marine environment.
The Scottish Association for Marine Science was founded in 1884, as the Scottish Marine Station, by oceanographer Sir John Murray (1841 - 1914) who had been a member of the Challenger Expedition (1872 - 76), the first to explore the world's oceans. The first laboratory was in Granton (Edinburgh), but moved to Millport (North Ayrshire) in 1894. Becoming the Scottish Marine Biological Association in 1914, the organisation had moved the Dunstaffnage by 1970. In 1993, the organisation changed its name once again to the Scottish Association for Marine Science (SAMS).
The Laboratory employs more than 110 scientists and support staff and has an annual turnover exceeding £3 million. New building in 2002 has greatly extended the Dunstaffnage facility.