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Marbank is a national marine biobank coordinating a network of marine collections in Norway. The mission of Marbank and the network is to provide national and international academia and industry with easy access to marine biodiversity, its associated data and extractable products. There is a special focus on samples for marine bioprospecting i.e. the systematic search for interesting and unique genes, molecules and organisms from the marine environment with features that could be useful to society and/or have potential for commercial development.

Photo: Robert A Johansen, Copyright: Robert A Johansen, Marbank

Marbank and the national network hold samples of marine organisms that are collected in Arctic, sub-Arctic and boreal habitats varying from the intertidal zone to the deep seas. Marbank aims for a wide assortment of marine species. The material archived and stored includes whole organisms, biochemical extracts and taxonomic and genetic samples from marine microorganisms, invertebrates and vertebrates. All samples are catalogued in a national database.

Marbank is part of the Institute of Marine Research, Norway's largest centre of marine science. Marbank is located in Tromsø, Norway, with laboratories and repositories for sample preparation and long-time storage of biological samples. An important part of the biobank activity is competence within marine biology and taxonomy, legal aspects and quality standards related to resources for marine bioprospecting etc. Marbank is established in close cooperation with the Norwegian Ministry of Fisheries and Coastal Affairs.