FSC | Field Studies Council

Field Studies Council: Bringing Environmental Understanding to All


1885 | The Ark was an 84ft lighter set up as a floating laboratory-the Scottish Marine Station-by Sir John Murray. It was moved from Granton (Edinburgh) to Port Loy on the Isle of Cumbrae.

Sir John Murray was a pioneering Scottish oceanographer, marine biologist and limnologist. He joined the crew of the Challenger as naturalist on its four year expedition and set up the marine laboratory several years later.

1894 | David Robertson took over the Ark from Sir John Murray and formed a committee to build the Marine Station.

David Robertson was a Scottish naturalist, also known as the ‘Cumbrae Naturalist’. He established Millport as an important area for biological research, and at his suggestion more scientists came to study there.

1896 | David Robertson cut the first sod, also present at the cutting of the first sod were George McCrie and James Gemmill. The foundation stone of the Millport Marine Biological Station was laid. Unfortunately David Robertson died later that year and never saw the finished marine station.

George McCrie was the first chairman (1894-1900) and Honorary Vice President and Trustee (1901) of the Millport Marine Biological Station Committee.

James Gemmill was the first president of the Marine Biological Association of the West of Scotland and had been a member of the original Committee of Management at the Marine Station, becoming Vice-Chairman, President and Honorary Vice-President.


1897| The Millport Marine Biological Station was opened by Sir John Murray. David Robertson’s collection of specimens was left to the marine station and the museum was named in his honour (the copper plaque hangs in reception).

1900 | The Ark was totally destroyed during a storm.

1901 | The Millport Marine Biological Station was visited by a group of zoologists from the British Association for the Advancement of Science (now British Science Association) during the 71st annual meeting in Glasgow.

1904 | The new extension was completed and opened by Sir John Ure Primrose.

Sir John Ure Primrose was the Honorary President of the Association.