Marine Science in St Andrews

The new Scottish Oceans Institute features a public exhibition and outreach area – The Beverley and Frank MacInnis Gallery. This opened on 30 September 2019 with a specially designed exhibit showing some of the history of marine science in St Andrews.  In this, we have attempted to highlight some of the women who have featured in the history of marine science.

Although much of early Scottish (and global) marine science was male-dominated, we have tried to provide a more balanced history, uncovering some of the women who have previously remained in the shadows.  The exhibit shows women involved in Scottish whaling, formidable polymaths such as Mary Somerville, and seaweed collector Margaret Gatty (related by marriage to Charles Gatty after whom the marine lab was originally named). The suffragettes even left their mark on the Gatty with an arsonist attack – leaving the words “Take heed of the women’s rebellion” and “We need to be goaded – like oxen as we are – into a trot”.

Today the make-up of the marine lab is more balanced as we try to ensure that obstacles which have previously faced minorities in science are lifted.