Marine Mammal Masters turned 10!

August was big celebration time for the Masters in Marine Mammal Science. Cohort number 10 finished their intense year at St Andrews with students submitting their dissertations followed by showing off their work to the rest of the department during the poster session. Of course there was also the customary end of course picture…. In deviation from previous traditions this photo was taken at the poster session in the Byre Theatre rather than on East Sands as we’re having construction work for a new state-of-the-art Gatty building at the SOI site.

Masters cohort year 10 & staff at the poster session

And then celebrations got even bigger! It was also the 10th anniversary of the Marine Mammal Science Masters, and Saturday 19th August saw a day of alumni events organised by a hard working alumni committee. It was superb to catch up with alumni from almost all cohorts and find out what everyone had been up to.

The afternoon was spent meeting and greeting, exchanging ideas about career paths and having an inspiring and inspired discussion about the future of marine mammal science. We were very lucky to have several of the main Masters staff contribute to the session – Prof Ian Boyd as founding father of the Marine Mammal Science Masters, Dr Sonja Heinrich as the person who breathed life into the programme and kept it going till now, Prof Ailsa Hall as current SMRU director (and without SMRU support there would be no Marine Mammal Science Masters), and Prof Phil Hammond as long-standing contributor to teaching and project supervision. Phil also kindly lent his voice to deliver the message from Prof Jason Matthiopoulos, the Master’s first course director, who sadly was unable to join the celebrations. Many of those who could not be there had sent words and pictures to share with those who gathered. Davey Poremba, a videographer – contact: flyfilmsuk(at), had skilfully compiled all those alumni contributions into an impressive video to share with us all. Davey also showed off his VJ skills during the alumni party in the evening and kept us dancing and reminiscing when the bands took a break.

Afternoon Alumni session

The evening party at the Rugby Clubhouse was stellar! JazzWorks set a chilled tone with their excellent jazz performance, and Free Reelin’ got everyone up on their feet and swirling around the dance floor ceilidh dancing the night away. In between, alumni and guests showed that the Master’s got talent during the open mic session. The auction of the weird and wonderful items then raised record amounts for a good cause as auctioneer Chris managed to flog an astonishing array of marine mammal memorabilia to sometimes unaware buyers or even the original owners of the donated gimmicks. The official party ended shortly after midnight, but in true Masters style with boundless energy different groups kept going in town until the wee hours of Sunday morning…..!

THANK YOU TO ALL who contributed to this momentous day. We had a whale of a time!