EBB project will celebrate its Fourth General Assembly

The EBB project will celebrate its fourth general assembly on October 8, 27 and 28. The event will be held in a completely virtual way, due to the restrictions caused by the Covid-19 pandemic.

A total of 12 partners from the Atlantic Area will join this event, which will be also attended by members of the extended family of EMBRC.

A tour will be carried out through each of the project’s work packages, reporting on the progress made since the last general assembly in Bilbao (Spain), in November 2019, and focusing on the work that remains to be done before the project finishes.

A handbook on Access and Benefit Sharing (ABS) best practices will also be presented to the EBB community. This handbook will contribute to the improvement of the compliance with the ABS framework by EBB collections, and will serve as a reference handbook for the EMBRC community in the future.

In addition, the completion of several deliverables will lead to the presentation of a number of EBB products that will be capitalized in the near future, hence increasing the visibility and impact of EBB.

Don’t forget to check our website after the end of the assembly. There you will be find more news about what will be discussed.

You can find the agenda of the Assembly here.

Cryopreservation of Algae

EBB, together with ASSEMBLE Plus project, has supported a research work, which has resulted in a book chapter on the cryopreservation of algae.

Its authors, Estefania Paredes, Angela Ward, Ian Probert, Léna Gouhier and Christine N. Campbell, have just published (August 2020) it within the book entitled Cryopreservation and Freeze-Drying Protocols (Springer Link).

This chapter provides protocols for cryopreservation of different types of algae cultures, ensuring a provision of marine biological resources and a long-term ex-situ storage, making possible their use for public and private sector research and education.

Society for Cryobiology Annual Meeting 2020

Dr. Estefanía Paredes from University of Vigo submitted a video poster for the Virtual CRYO_2020. The Cryobiology community deals with biobanking and there is a strong international collaboration therefore this was very useful information for the community that needs to know the basics about ABS and where to find all the information needed to comply.

If you want, you can see her intervention in this video

“Reprodução em aquacultura”

On 13th July of 2020, Drs. Elvira Fatsini and Catarina Oliveira gave one talk entitled “Reprodução em aquacultura” inside of “Ciência, uma visão do futuro” course held in Faro (Portugal) by Zoom platform.

On this course Drs. Fatsini and Oliveira gave a masterclass showing how the reproduction works in aquaculture, above all in fish species and showed several reproduction tools as cryopreservation, promoting the EBB project and the importance of preserving biological genetic material and the usage
for aquaculture.

This course was organized by the University of Algarve to students from 15 and 18 years old.

EBB project supports 30 users of marine genetic resources to comply with ABS requirements

A whole line of work (EBB work package 6, “Access and Benefit Sharing (ABS) compliance for innovative uses of Marine Biological Resources“) is devoted to engage with end-users and learn about the practical implications of complying with ABS regulation and the major hurdles they face.

In this engagement process, EBB has provided direct, practical help to 30 individuals and projects, gathering valuable information from these hands-on use-cases. First of all, EBB has drawn the end-users’ attention to the existence of an ABS legal framework and the need to comply with it. EBB has also helped users to determine whether their research was in scope of the ABS regulations, and when needed, it has pointed them to the appropriate National Authorities so that they could request their permits. In some cases, EBB has even submitted the application for access permits on behalf of the researchers from foreign countries visiting EBB partner institutions funded by ASSEMBLE Plus transnational access programme.

Likewise, large scale projects like Scuba Cancers, using cockles to investigate clonally transmissible cancers in the marine environment, COCKLES, focused on restoring cockles production or EnhanceMicroAlgae, which aims to increase the competitiveness of microalgal-based industries in the Atlantic Area have been benefited of EBB support. These are international projects that have accessed genetic resources of many countries of origin, which means that ABS Competent National Authorities from different consulted. In addition to that, EBB partners have also raised awareness about ABS regulations and helped other users from their home institutions. Private companies using marine genetic resources were also guided through ABS framework. This has provided valuable insights on how research projects implementation can be impacted by the existence of legal frameworks which differ between countries, and the fact that certain bodies, such as ethics committees, can act as extra checkpoints on occasions.

In spite of the considerable bureaucratic burden involved in ABS framework, it is important to underline the efficient and diligent response of national focal points dealing with ABS permits with whom EBB has interacted. Online systems for requesting the access permits and doing due diligence declarations also contribute to alleviate the administrative burden.

Overall, it has been a unique opportunity to make a difference and capitalize the experience and know-how acquired through the project to help end-users of marine genetic resources.

New EBB incorporations

The EBB project has added two new members on the last two months. Carlos Ferreira has joined to the CIIMAR while Marimar Costa has started to be part of the ECIMAT team of CIM- University of Vigo. With these new additions EBB aims to increase its visibility in the media by improving its communication tasks and streamlining the administrative and technical tasks arising from coordination.

Carlos Ferreira

Carlos Ferreira graduated in Biochemistry in 2009, at the Faculty of Sciences of the University of Porto, and completed his master in Environmental Contamination and Toxicology in 2011, at Abel Salazar Biomedical Sciences Institute of the University of Porto. Later, he participated in different environmentally friendly biotechnological projects, completing his PhD in Environmental Engineering in  2019, at the Faculty of Engineering of the University of  Porto. Currently as part of the EBB project, Carlos is CIIMAR’s responsible for the establishment of  communication plans and outreach activities as well as for the definition of protocols for the preservation of CIIMAR’s LEGE culture collection. He is also responsible for the implementation of a quality system for collections users as well as elaboration of reports.

Marimar Costa

Marimar Costa graduated in Biology and Biochemistry has a background in Marine Biology. She holds a PhD in immunology in aquaculture and she has worked on the study of the molecular bases which govern the immune system of different cultured species, as well as, on the genetic response against their main pathogens. After her contribution to different international research projects on several institutions, she joined the EBB project in March 2020, precisely one week after the COVID-19 lockdown began and ever since she has been assisting the EBB Coordination team at University of Vigo, providing both administrative and technical support. With her work she will be contributing to a more agile fulfilment of EBB tasks and to improve EBB visibility and impact.

Ocean Sustainability Bergen Conference; ‘SDG14 – Life Below Water: Conservation and Sustainable Use of the Ocean’

Ocean Sustainability Bergen is a virtual centre at the University of Bergen (UiB), working with partner institutions worldwide in ocean science and education. The aim is to engage with the Sustainable Development Goals (SDSs). Ocean Sustainability Bergen takes care of day to day activities in relation to UiB’s status as the Hub for SDG 14: Life below water as appointed by the United Nations Academic Impact (UNAI) and is also the SDG 14 representative in the International Association of Universities (IAU) SDG Cluster.

The focus for the first Ocean Sustainability Bergen Conference:

-Is the combination of conservation and sustainable use of the ocean an illusion or a realistic possibility?
-How can science be used to underpin the development of a useful instrument for BBNJ?
-In more general terms, how can scientific advice contribute to decision-making processes in global ocean governance?

The objectives:

-To create awareness in a wide range of academic disciplines of current challenges for global ocean governance and to inspire their increased involvement.
-To provide an arena for exchange of science and policy ideas directly relevant to the intergovernmental negotiations on marine BBNJ.
-To discuss how a BBNJ instrument can contribute to the UN 2030 Agenda.

Kjersti Lie Gabrielsen from Marbank, IMR, was one of the panelists on day 2 of the conference. In the beginning of the panel debate she gave an introduction to the use and regulation of marine genetic resources  including the role of biorepositories where EBB also was presented.

Part of the program:

11:20-12:40 Moderated panel on maritime governance, marine genetic resources, ocean and climate
Moderator: Professor Edvard Hviding, Department of Social Anthropology, UiB


Sigrid Eskeland Schütz, Professor, Faculty of Law, University of Bergen, Norway.
Kjersti Lie Gabrielsen, Chief scientist, Marbank, Institute of Marine Research, Troms.
Elizabeth Nyman, Maritime Studies Programme Coordinator and Assistant Professor, Texas A&M University, USA.
Cristina Voigt, Professor, Department of Public and International Law, University of Oslo, Norway.

Link to the program:


Webinar Project Global ABS of PNUD-GEF Scientific Input to International Policy Decisions

Ibon Cancio participated in the webinar “Webinar Aspectos Centrales de ABS y el Protocolo de Nagoya – Su papel en la Investigación, Desarrollo e Innovación Científica” inside the project Global ABS (Fortalecimiento de los recursos humanos, los marcos legales y las capacidades institucionales para aplicar el Protocolo de Nagoya) of the PNUD-GEF program of the United Nations for Latin America. The goals of the EBB Project were presented together with aspects related to the incorporation of Digital Sequence Information (DSI) to the definition of Genetic Resources, with the talk entitled: “20,000 genes de viaje marino: del recurso genético físico al digital, pasando por Nagoya”. The overarching goal of the webinar was to present the newly approved ABS national regulation to the scientific community of Uruguay.


The contents of the workshop can be visited here: https://abs-sustainabledevelopment.net/event/webinar-aspectos-centrales-de-abs-y-el-protocolo-de-nagoya-su-papel-en-la-investigacion-desarrollo-e-innovacion-cientifica/

European Blue Biobank (EBB) promo clip

The activities carried out in our project are the result of the joint work of a multidisciplinary team made up of some of the most important marine collections in Europe, marine biotechnology clusters and companies, together with national agencies responsible for the access to marine genetic resources.

As a result of this coordinated effort, the project was awarded in 2018 at the Atlantic Project Awards, in the category of “Atlantic Marine and coastal environment”.

In this video you can see the main activities that we carry out and which are the biobanks, clusters, companies and competent national authorities that make up our consortium, as well as, some images of the award ceremony.

Get a glimpse here!

“Why a landmark treaty to stop ocean biopiracy could stymie research”

A recent paper published last March in “Nature” reports on the on-going negotiations about the Nagoya protocol extension. In the current protocol, the legal regime for the access to non-human genetic resources as well as the equitable and fair sharing of benefits obtained from their utilization is developed. As far as marine resources are concerned, the current protocol only covers waters within national jurisdiction, yet there are many resources in international waters sea whose benefits are not shared in an equitative way. Authored by Olive Heffernan, the paper describes how the new treaty will include genetic resources accessed in international waters, as well as the digital genetic sequences obtained from those genetic resources. Some researchers fear that the new legal framework will become a bottleneck that hamper their access to marine genetic at high seas, ultimately hindering new discoveries.