Marine animal health is affected by various stressors, including disease and anthropogenic pollution. NIST assists NOAA Fisheries and associated collaborators primarily by evaluating marine-life exposure to man-made toxicants and by archiving specimens for retrospective analysis.
NIST and the Biospecimen Science Group continue to collaborate with NOAA Fisheries, other federal and state agencies, and non-profit organizations to provide the ability to accurately assess exposure of marine animals to environmental stressors and provide a resource for retrospective analysis of marine animal tissues through NIST’s standardized sample collection protocols and rigorous archival capabilities. Federally protected marine species are impacted by many anthropogenic and natural factors that can lead to declines in their populations. The assistance provided by NIST helps our collaborators make informed decisions about which stressors pose the greatest harm, and whether these factors can be ameliorated. Methods for assessing contaminants and disease are continually improving. The availability of cryogenically-archived, high quality samples from protected marine species allows for retrospective analysis of contamination, disease, and physiological markers of health. Management actions by federal agencies based on information provided by NIST will help to conserve protected species for future generations.
In times of disaster response in the United States, the NIST Biospecimen Science Group has been called upon for their expertise in chain-of-custody documentation, sample collection and protocol development, and streamlined sample barcoding procedures. The Biospecimen Science Group has worked closely with collection partners to process and archive samples through the NIST Biorepository, as well as to safely and securely ship samples to collaborators as requested according to local and international regulations.
Standardized sample collection protocols developed and used for marine animal health assessments
Maintenance of the NIST Biorepository for archiving marine samples for retrospective work
Provide advice for non-invasive sampling alternatives to assess exposure
Methods for measuring contaminants of emerging concern (CECs) in biological matrices
Chain-of-custody documentation and procedures
Sample barcoding and tracking using the NIST Biorepository sample tracking database