Australian Rivers Institute marine ecologist and eco-toxicologist Dr Jason van de Merwe said the cell bank was established to address the lack of available marine wildlife cell cultures for research purposes.
He says cell cultures are an increasingly valuable, ethical and novel tool for research into biological processes and health assessment of humans and animals.
“However, their application to understanding the biology and health of marine wildlife has been limited, largely driven by the lack of available cell cultures for these species.
“In this project, we store established cell cultures from a whole range of marine species, including whales, dolphins, dugong and even endangered species of sea turtles.”
Access to the bank is available to researchers worldwide, with frozen samples of cell cultures shipped on request.
“We want to then make these cell cultures available to researchers all over the world to increase our understanding about marine wildlife and how they are being impacted by changes to our oceans”.
“We are calling for rescue and rehabilitation organisations, animal parks and other researchers working with these animals to provide tissue samples for establishment of new cell cultures.”