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Marine bioactivity in Irish waters

Margaret Rae, Helka Folch, Mónica B. J. Moniz, Carsten W. Wolff, Grace P. McCormack, Fabio Rindi, Mark P. Johnson
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In 2009, the Marine Biodiscovery Laboratory was set-up at the Marine Institute with funds from the Marine Institute and the Beaufort Marine Biodiscovery Research Programme. The Marine Biodiscovery Laboratory has already processed over 130 marine specimens from coastal zones and from the Deep Sea (≤3,000 m) within the Marine Irish Exclusive Economic Zone. Beaufort Biodiscovery funded taxonomists are involved in species identification and elucidation of evolutionary relationships. The project approach links sampling, systematics, extraction, microbial metagenomics and biomaterials. The Laboratory consists of approximately 56 m2 including an extraction and a bioassay suite. The Laboratory samples and assesses marine biological diversity geared towards developing natural products for drug discovery, advanced material applications and bio-medical devices. Samples are tracked from sample log-into right through to extraction and bioassay using a customised Marine Biodiscovery Database. The extraction procedure is described along with the anti-bacterial bioassay selected for routine use. The Marine Biodiscovery Database manages the data generated and links the data collected by the project’s stakeholders to existing biodiversity, genetic and chemical resources. The system uses in-house developed software tools to merge biodiscovery data collected with other MI resources and external databases and for the data mining and visualisation of biogeographical, genetic and chemical information aimed at the identification of potential biodiversity and bioactivity “hotspots”.

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