Scientific Work of the Primorsky Aquarium will Supply the World’s First Biobank with Flora and Fauna of the Far Eastern Seas

Scientific Work of the Primorsky Aquarium will Supply the World’s First Biobank with Flora and Fauna of the Far Eastern Seas

The National Scientific Center of Marine Biology FEB RAS (NSCMB FEB RAS) is creating a unique robotic center for biomaterial storage in the frame of work on the marine mammal study and protection.

The Far-Eastern marine mammal researchers are going to have an opportunity to work with all the Primorsky Aquarium animals’ biomaterial. Located on the NSCMB territory on Palchevskogo Street of Vladivostok City, the biobank will place and store biological material of the marine mammals that live in the Primorskiy Aquarium – the Branch of the NSCMB FEB RAS on Russky Island.

According to Tatiana Orlova, the Deputy Director of NSCMB FEB RAS, at the present day, the biobank is working in the test mode. As of December this year, the biobank are going to start receiving biomaterials such as blood serum etc. for storage including the marine mammals’. Before banking, specimens will be thoroughly investigated to obtain detailed genetic and biochemical data of the biomaterials which should conform world’ advanced standards for the biological materials to be banked. The NSCMB’s biobank robotic complex makes it possible not only hold a temperature required for storage but also find a sample required by a researcher in a matter of seconds considering that storage capacity is 120,000 units.

As Inessa Dyuizen, the Corresponding Member of the Russian Academy of Sciences, the holder of Habilitation degree in Medicine, and the expert in the field of the molecular and cell neurobiology says, the marine mammals now are the most unexplored, enigmatic, and vulnerable (!) wildlife objects under the sun.

“Today, throughout the world, cases of mass marine mammal mortality are not at all rare occurrence both in the wild and in captivity,” Inessa Dyuizen tells. “Due to underexplored functioning marine mammals’ immune and hormone systems and metabolic processes, ways of defense response development, it is sometime difficult to explain what life environment would be aggressive and “uncomfortable” for them. The Primorsky Aquarium on Russky Island is an excellent scientific ground for research of marine mammals’ physiology, adaptability, long underwater breath-holding capability, and remarkable properties of their nervous system. The research conducted by the Primorsky Aquarium using the most-up-to-date equipment can pave the way for epoch-making discoveries as well as for an understanding of the tissue regeneration mechanisms, and functioning the acoustic and visual systems. Close study of the animals’ biochemical indicators, mechanisms of their resistance or sensitivity to infections is necessary for both accurate diagnosing and choice of treatment options. Currently, there are a few research articles in the world’s experience devoted to the organism properties of the diverse marine mammal species. For this reason, the NSCMB FEB RAS scientists’ research in the Primorsky Aquarium will allow them to increase knowledge of the marine mammal physiology that is essential for their conservation and protection.”

Tatiana Orlova in her turn notices of how the scientific work having been conducted by the Primorsky Aquarium hasis important. “Today, an issue of Arctic Region development is increasingly raised not only for Russia but and for other countries,” Tatiana Orlova tells. “It is a matter of a great importance for national economy but we must take into consideration of issues of human intervention into the Arctic and Far-Eastern wildlife and study its potential impact. Human activity and changes in the Arctic not only contribute to the global warming problem but also can affect threatened and endangered species, marine biodiversity and the marine mammals particularly as the most vulnerable animals. We must do our utmost to minimize man-caused harmful impact on the territory and its biological systems. As regards the marine animals, the global warming is the issue of the day. It would be interesting for Primorsky Krai residents to know that the Sea of Japan surrounding us “heats” rather quickly – for 30 years in a row, the water temperature has become 2° warmer on average. It can go unnoticed for a man, but poses a real threat for the marine ecosystems”.

Tatiana Orlova reminded about the main idea of the Primorsky Aquarium founding – to create the first in the Russia (maybe, the world’s first) scientific-and-educational center joining prestigious scientists, the marine reserve experts, and the experienced “oceanarium” specialists to research and conserve unique marine biodiversity of our homeland.