Our oceans represent vast reservoirs of untapped bioresources, with immense potential in the emerging blue bioeconomy. Amidst the unprecedented loss of biodiversity on a global scale, there is an urgent need to establish a comprehensive network of biorepositories dedicated to the conservation and sustainable utilization of marine resources. In response to this imperative, the Irish Marine Biomaterial Repository (http://www.imbd.ie/) was conceived to bridge the gap among diverse stakeholders—ranging from conservationists, academic researchers, and industry professionals —all united by the common objective of ensuring the responsible and sustainable use of bioresources (Reddy et al. 2021). The IMBD goes beyond the conventional role of existing biodiversity collections by extending its functions to include subsamples specifically earmarked for biodiscovery. This strategic approach aims to facilitate the ongoing quest for new biomolecules derived from the rich biodiversity of our oceans. Essentially, the IMBD serves as a biological and chemical library linked to biological screening and potential applications in the blue bioeconomy, offering a valuable resource for researchers and industry alike. Managing such detailed information demands meticulous data management, which led to the development of an associated web database. This platform ensures the seamless organization and processing of data and facilitates best practices for collection and data management. Nevertheless, the web database originally developed for the IMBD primarily targeted macroorganisms. Several partners within the Ocean4Biotech consortium expressed their interest in accessing a satellite of the IMBD web database. However, they also emphasized the need for enhancements to the web database. Consequently, a dedicated working group from the Ocean4Biotech Cost Action collaborated on refining the database to meet the requirements of researchers working with both macro and microorganisms. The upgraded web database resulting from this collaborative effort has now been made accessible to researchers in 10 different countries in Europe and Africa. This represents a significant step forward in ensuring a comprehensive and inclusive platform that addresses the diverse needs of those engaged in marine biotechnology research.

Reddy, M. M., Jennings, L., & Thomas, O. P. (2021). Marine biodiscovery in a changing world. Progress in the Chemistry of Organic Natural Products 116, 1-36.


Biorepository created in the framework of Ocean4Biotech COST Action can be found here.