Marine Drug Discovery Home
The oceans contain a vast diversity of macro and microorganisms that are largely undiscovered. The Division of Biomedical Marine Research (DBMR) at Harbor Branch Oceanographic Institution (HBOI) has one of the most comprehensive collections of deep-water sponges in the world, having led numerous expeditions and submersible collections at more than 400 sites over nearly two decades. Through accumulation of new species and site records, long-term surveys are effectively being conducted and biodiversity inventories and catalogs (in the form of cruise reports) are a significant by-product of our primary mission of drug discovery.
Mostly derived from marine sponge samples (>50 different taxa), (as well as marine plants, deep sea cnidarians, echinoids, bryozoans, sediments and seawater samples) the HBOI Marine Microbial Culture Collection (HBMMCC) consists of over 16,000 total marine bacteria and fungi (9000 derived specifically from marine invertebrates). This collection is maintained as a source of microbes for DBMR’s Fermentation Program which systematically cultures the isolates for novel bioactive product discovery. However, except for an initial Gram-stain and a description of basic cellular and colonial morphology, few of the strains in this collection have been taxonomically classified.
The Division of Environmental Biology at the National Science Foundation (NSF) awarded Dr. Jose Lopez (PI) and Dr. Peter McCarthy (Co-PI) of DBMR a "Biotic Surveys and Inventory" (BSI) grant to more thoroughly characterize a portion of the Collection. Using techniques such as microscopy, restriction fragment length polymorphism (RFLP), and DNA sequence analyses of the small subunit rRNAs (16S and 18S-like), the primary aim of the BSI is to provide fundamental taxonomic data to enhance our knowledge of microbial diversity. The data generated will be of utility to the wider marine microbiology research community. This study has been performed through 2005 with results posted as the data was analyzed. Please note that microbial taxonomies on HBMMD may be continually revised with new data.