Two scientists examining a large specimen jar

The Western Australian Museum today launched WA’s first Marine Bioresources Library, providing assistance to biodiscovery researchers in their research into cures for cancer and other diseases.

The WA Marine Bioresources Library (WAMBL) will be one of only three in Australia, with the other two based in Queensland.

The WAMBL is a library of frozen samples taken from sponges and other marine species and will be curated professionally by WA Museum experts. Extracts will be available for use by State, national and international organisations to provide new research opportunities for industry.

WA Museum Acting Chief Executive Officer Diana Jones said many of WA’s marine species are found nowhere else in the world and can contribute greatly to biomedicinal research.

“Research has shown that many of WA’s sponges and sea squirts may hold the key to potential cures for diseases and cancers. These compounds may belong to the animals or to the microbes that frequently live within them,” Ms Jones said.

“Having this library within WA will provide fast and coordinated access for scientists to a range of marine samples that will help with important research in these areas.”

The establishment of this Library will assist in:

  • Storage of marine biodiversity extracts
  • Creating an inventory of marine frozen samples for the library
  • Creating a georeferenced biodiversity database
  • Delivering samples to screening laboratories
  • Providing a central point for marine specimens curated elsewhere
  • Identifying valuable compounds from marine biodiversity
  • Enhancing marine, microbial, chemical and biomedicinal sciences
  • Producing marine natural products, including anti-cancer agents
  • Reviewing industry interests for economic sustainable generation of biomaterials and by-products derived from marine organisms
  • Encouraging the introduction of WA biotechnology legislation to improve biodiscovery research investment and exploration prospects.

Scientists at the WA Museum and the Australian Institute of Marine Science (AIMS) have started to collate the specimens and extracts and to create an inventory of samples and a georeferenced biodiversity database.

This project is an initiative of the WA Museum, AIMS and the Department of Fisheries (WA), with funding from the Western Australian Marine Science Institution.

For all media enquiries please contact:
Renee Dodds
Western Australian Museum
T: +61 [0] 9212 3860 M: +61 [0] 0417 970 239
Flora Perrella
Western Australian Museum
T. +61 [0] 9212 3856 M: +61 [0] 0424 027 646