EBB FINAL EVENT: “Symposium on Biobanking and Marine Diversity”

The EBB project is coming to an end. As the final event of the project, a virtual symposium will be held on March 23rd (09:30-12:30 CET) on Biobanking and Marine Diversity.

The main goal of the EBB project is to facilitate sustainable access to marine biodiversity, its associated data, and extractable products for local and international academia and industry users, and to incentivise biodiversity conservation in coastal ecosystems by promoting compliance with Access and Benefit Sharing (ABS) regulations derived from the Nagoya Protocol.

The symposium is aimed to present the main outputs (management TOOLS) produced in the framework of EBB project during the last 4 years and initiate the spread of outcomes specially among EMBRC members, as well as other biobanks, culture collections and stakeholders.

The main results that will be presented are:

EBB TRACE database: a searchable catalogue of the full range of marine biological resources that could be provided by the EBB Biobank.

EBB TRACK tool: instrument for the provision of macroorganisms in culture collections service supply and biobank management.

“The EBB / EMBRC guide to ABS compliance. Recommendations to marine biological resources collections’ and users’ institutions”.

The practical guide for users “Seek, keep & transfer: A step-by-step guide to ABS compliance when utilizing marine genetic resources”.

The training webinars on key aspects of ABS.

Deliverable 2.5.2. Documentary Script

Deliverable 2.5.2. Documentary Script. Action 5. WP2 Project Communication

This deliverable defines the actions taken within the framework of deliverable 2.5.2 (WP2: Communication) of the EBB project in order to facilitate the dissemination and understanding of its main objective: the preservation of marine biodiversity.

A television show, ‘Teknopolis’, was recorded with a high local audience, with the aim of making the general public and a large number of users aware of the importance of biodiversity and showing the main steps that must be taken to comply with ABS regulations when we work with genetic resources.

Euskal Irrati Telebista (EiTB), the Basque Autonomous Radio Television proposed Dr. Ibon Cancio from the Plentzia Maritime Station (PiE-UPV / EHU) of the University of the Basque Country (UPV / EHU) to be the master of ceremonies. He, and the host of the television program, toured the rocky intertidal zone finding different marine species, which can be used as marine genetic resources.

The BMCC of UPV/EHU presents its collection with the launching of its new website

The Basque Microalgae Culture Collection (BMCC), of the University of the Basque Country (UPV/EHU), maintains more than 600 strains of marine and freshwater microalgae and cyanobacteria, mainly from the Basque Country, although counts with species collected in different parts of the world.

This collection was registered within the World Federation for Culture Collections (WFCC, World Federation for Culture Collections) in 2020 and is part of the Spanish Network of Microorganisms (REDESMI). Among its taxonomical groups that can be found in collection in BMCC we can find different species of haptophytes, cryptophytes, dinoflagellates, chlorophytes, diatoms and cyanobacteria.

BMCC is part of the Plentzia Marine Station (PiE-UPV/EHU), which is one of the operators of the Spanish node of European Marine Biological Resource Centre (EMBRC-ERIC) and a partner in European Blue Biobank (EBB) project. BMCC facilitates access to biological resources with great biotechnological potential for both private and public companies or institutions. Moreover, the strains held at BMCC may play a pivotal role in biotechnological developments or be research focus leading to patent generation or scientific publication. Culture collections also play an important role preserving biodiversity, mission that has been recently underpinned under the biodiversity goals of the Convention of Biological Diversity and the entry into force of its Nagoya Protocol and its associated Access and Benefit Sharing (ABS) regulations.

In addition to supplying isolated algal strains already identified, the BMCC offers additional services such as the isolation and identification of species, the production and supply of culture media, the possibility of depositing strains in the collection or the characterization of some compounds present in microalgae. Such services are available for companies or researchers, both for basic and applied research.

This collection opens its doors to the rest of the world through its new website, which has an access portal that has been funded by EBB project, and that can be visited in this link

Workshop: “How to Do Nagoya: access to marine genetic resources in compliance with ABS regulations”

Last Friday, January 29, as part of the agenda of Assemble Plus 2021 Conference, members of the EBB project, together with the ABS Working group of EMBRC, organized and held an online event where the main outputs and results of the EBB project were launched.

The EMBRC Executive Director, Nicolas Pade, introduced the workshop and its objectives. He explained the role of Biological Resources Centres (BRCs) in helping researchers to carry out their “due diligence” regarding Access and Benefit Sharing (ABS) legislation. He also presented the work that EMBRC is doing to bring its BRCs up to date and in compliance with ABS regulations. Finally, he presented the members of the ABS Working group of EMBRC.

The first part of the workshop was dedicated to present two outputs developed in the frame of the EBB project.  Anne Emmanuelle Kervella, from CNRS and Station Biologique de Roscoff, presented “The EBB | EMBRC guide to ABS compliance”, which provides recommendations to institutions with collections and users of marine biological resources to comply with the ABS legislation. She briefly introduced the Nagoya Protocol, the European ABS Regulation and the marine genetic resources in scope of these regulations. She highlighted that the implementation of all the requirements in institutions and biobanks produce an impact on the activities, policies and organization of the research institutions. Then, she provided an overview of the structure and main contents included in “The EBB | EMBRC guide to ABS compliance”.

Then, Ian Probert, from the Station Biologique de Roscoff, presented a step-by-step guide which is a practical to-do-list for individual scientists from academia or private sector conducting research on “marine genetic resources”. This document recommends users to follow a 6-step iterative process by answering some questions in an iterative way. The guide presents action and provides tips for each of the 6 steps.

A round of question-answers followed these presentations to close the first part of the workshop.

The second part of the workshop was dedicated to showcase research projects that have taken into practice the indications appearing in the EBB/EMBRC guide to ABS compliance. First, Arnaud Larroquette, EMBRC ABS Compliance Officer, started a round table entitled “How to take all this into practice”, showing the results of an audit of the genetic resources held in EBB collections.

Then, three use cases of users of services and resources at marine biological stations were presented. Christian Galasso (Stazione Zoologica Anton Dohrn), Daniel García Souto (CiMUS, University of Santiago de Compostela) and Fernando Reyes (Fundación Medina) shared their experiences as users of marine genetic resources from different European countries. The three short presentations were followed by a section with questions and answers, with participation of researchers, managers of research institutions and even ABS national focal point representatives.

Fiz da Costa from ECIMAT-Marine Research Center of the University of Vigo and Ibon Cancio from PiE-UPV/EHU of the University of Basque Country were the moderators of this successful event, with participation of more than 70 persons of different nationalities.

The video recording of this event is available on the EMBRC YouTube channel at this link.

Basque Microalgae Culture Collection (BMCC): new microalgae collection, new opportunities for the blue economy.

Our colleagues from the Plentzia Marine Station (PiE) from the University of the Basque Country (UPV) presented a poster about the Basque Microalgae Culture collection titled: “Basque Microalgae Culture Collection (BMCC): new microalgae collection, new opportunities for the blue economy” in the poster session.

In addition, Sergio Seoane participated in a round table titled: ”Biobanking for our environment: plant biobanking, species preservation and crop opportunities”. This session was about how the environmental biobanks and the conservation of plant genetic resources play a central role in sustainable agriculture, food security, livelihoods, and products for human health as well as in conservation and restoration of nature reserves.

ASSEMBLE Plus 2021: Marine biological research at the frontier (online conference)

On the 22nd January 2021, Fiz da Costa presented the services provided at Toralla Marine Science Station (ECIMAT), which belongs to Marine Research Centre (CIM) of the University of Vigo. In this talk it was presented the information about the Nagoya Protocol and Access and Benefit (ABS) regulations that is available at ECIMAT website and the ABS guide for users of Spanish genetic resources  that were developed thanks to the support of EBB project.

The talk is available through the YouTube channel of European Marine Biological Resource Centre (EMBRC). If you want to visualize, please click here (from minute 28 onwards).

Workshop: “How to Do Nagoya: access to marine genetic resources in compliance with ABS regulations”

The next January 29th, members of the EBB project and the EMBRC ABS working group organize the Workshop: “How to Do Nagoya: access to marine genetic resources in compliance with ABS regulations”, as part of the agenda of the ASSEMBLE Plus Conference 2021. The main goal of this workshop is to share with the service providers, and its users from academia and industry, in Assemble+ the work carried out within EMBRC to help such community to comply with their Access and Benefit Sharing (ABS) duties in the light of the Nagoya protocol when utilizing marine genetic resources.

One of the main aims of the European Blue Biobank (EBB) project is supporting biobanks and culture collections to comply with these regulations as holders and providers of marine genetic resources. According to this, EBB project has been providing support to end-users to comply with ABS regulations for their access to marine genetic resources. With the aim of being a reference for other users, and also for biobanks and culture collections, EBB project together with the ABS working group of EMBRC, have produced a Best Practice Guidelines on ABS for access to marine genetic resources, and a “step by step” short guide. Both documents will be presented by Anne Emmanuelle Kervella and Ian Probert from Biological Station of Roscoff, after an introduction of the EMBRC’s ABS Working Group by Nicolas Pade, EMBRC Executive Director.

The day will be concluded with a round table where some users of services and resources at marine biological stations will share their experience. Arnaud Larroquete, EMBRC ABS Compliance Officer, will also explain the results of an ABS audit of genetic resources in collections of Atlantic marine stations, conducted on the frame of EBB project.

The event will take place on-line and the registration is still opened. You can register to this workshop and other talks here. For checking the agenda, please click here .

Research & Biopiracy: An Intro to Nagoya Protocol & European Access & Benefit Sharing Regulations

On the 12th of November 2020, our colleague and EBB partner Heidi Tillin, from the Marine Biological Association (MBA), gave a virtual talk on the “Coffee Time Talk” seminar series organized by MBA about the Nagoya Protocol entitled: “Research & Biopiracy: An Intro to Nagoya Protocol & European Access & Benefit Sharing Regulations”.

She briefly introduced the legislative background of the Convention on Biological Diversity and the Nagoya Protocol. Then, she explained what is Access and Benefit Sharing and the obligations imposed on the users of genetic resources or traditional knowledge in the European Union by the EU REG511/2014. She also showed to the audience the ABS Clearing House and how it can help final users to comply with the regulations associated with the Nagoya Protocol.

After this introduction, she focused on marine collections, and what are the requirements that the collections needs to demonstrate to become an EU registered collection. According to this, she explained that many organizations have developed guidelines for improving their practices. She exposed the advances made in the frame of EBB project and that a Handbook on implementation of Best Practices focused on biobanks and collections has been developed. This new document, created under the umbrella of EMBRC and its ABS working group, is divided in two parts: the first one introduces the legal framework and the second one includes technical guidelines and some useful annexes for their implementation.

The recording of the presentation is available here.




A Marine Biodiversity Observation Network for Genetic Monitoring of Hard-Bottom Communities (ARMS-MBON)

A total of 46 researchers from 30 different institutions, have created an ocean observation network with the aim to know and understand the changes taking place in the coastal habitats and provide information about the biodiversity they hold. For that, researchers have placed more than 130 Autonomous Reef Monitoring Structures (ARMS) on the ocean floor, structures established in the vicinity of marinas, ports, marine protected areas (MPAs), and long-term ecological research (LTER) sites. These 3D structures, units consisting of stacked settlement plates attached to the sea floor, have helped researchers to know more about the variety of species present and to early detect the presence of non-indigenous species, attracting both sessile and motile benthic organisms. Researchers sampled the structures several times per year analysing the specimens attached to them and carrying out morphological and molecular studies. The results allowed conduct comparative studies of species assemblages across broad spatial and temporal scales.

Dr. Ibon Cancio from UPV/PIE, Dr. Jesús Souza Troncoso from UVigo and Nicolas Pade from EMBRC Headquarters, all of them members of EBB project, have signed this publication as authors.

If you want to read the full text, please click here.

Business2Sea 2020

The 10th edition of Business2Sea organized by CETMAR Foundation and Fórum Oceano was held from the 16th to 20th of November 2020 in virtual format. The European Blue Biobank (EBB) project contributed to this event with an awareness workshop entitled “Do not be a biopirate: the European Blue biobank can help you use marine genetic resources legally”. Belén Martín Míguez, EBB coordinator, animated the workshop and Dr. Ibon Cancio from UPV/EHU (Spain) gave a first clarifying talk about how the importance of the Access and Benefit Sharing (ABS) framework and Nagoya protocol for the conservation of global biodiversity, and the procedures that a user of marine genetic resources have to undertake for accessing them legally. Since regulations can differ between countries, Dr. Cancio showed in his presentation the central role of the Access and Benefit Sharing Clearing House (ABS-CH), a repository that facilitates the contact with the national focal points as well as pointing to the legal texts applicable in each country. Next, Fiz da Costa (CIM/UVigo, Spain), project manager of EBB project explained how the project had assisted more than 30 users to access marine genetic resources legally. Each use case has had its particularities: different provider country, different national regulations, different purpose of the experiments… Dr. da Costa finished his talk explaining the main lessons learnt from these use cases. A round table closed the workshop with users of genetic resources from different countries (Portugal, France and Spain) sharing their experiences in accessing and utilizing marine genetic resources. They highlighted some of the difficulties encountered and acknowledged EBB project contribution in helping them.

According to the polls launched during the workshop, half of the audience belonged to clusters/private sector and the other half to academic sector. The majority of the audience was not familiarized with all the steps needed for ABS compliance.

The presentations and videos of the workshop can be found here.