CBS Collection and affiliated staff are involved in:
MycoBank is an on-line registration system developed and launched by CBS in 2004. It now resides under the auspices of the International Mycological Association (IMA). MycoBank allows authors to on-line register mycological nomenclatural novelties and to also deposit other data associated with these novelties, for example descriptions, illustrations, sequences, etc. Each name is given a unique MycoBank number that can be used in the publication, and also serves as its LSID (Life Sciences Identifier) with the following structure: urn:lsid:indexfungorum.org:names:nnnnnn.. Such numbers will also be used by the nomenclatural database Index Fungorum, with which MycoBank is associated. The main reason to start this service was that the Internation Code for Botanical Nomenclature (ICBN) hardly contains restrictions where to publish nomenclatural novelties, resulting in a plethora of possibilities that are far from covered by the average taxonomic library. Several important mycological journals have already agreed to make the registration in MycoBank obligatory for their authors, while others are currently considering following suit. At the moment MycoBank contains 23.000 descriptions and 8.700 illustrations.
EMbaRC European Consortium of Microbial Resource Centres Link: http://www.embarc.eu/
EMbaRC is an EU project funded under the Seventh Framework Program, Research Infrastructures Action (INFRA-2008-220.127.116.11: Biological Resources Centres (BRCs) for microorganisms). It aims to improve, coordinate and validate microbial resource centre (MRC) delivery to European and International researchers from both public and private sectors. To ensure harmonisation of the quality of MRCs, EMbaRC plans to take the current OECD best practice guidelines and emerging national standards for Biological Resource Centres (BRCs) to the international level. Outreach and training activities will ensure that all European collections can take advantage of the outputs of the consortium’s work. The project will also deliver a Code of Conduct for Biosecurity for European BRC’s.
The properties of microorganisms have been harnessed by man for thousands of years and their uses continue to expand in all sectors not just food and healthcare but in almost all areas of industry and environmental maintenance. Their authentication, characterisation, stable storage and supply are a major contribution to the knowledge-based bioeconomy. The EMbaRC project takes European collection networking to new heights of coordination and efficiency providing new services and better access for European users. The opportunity will be taken to work more closely with the users. A one-stop access to the collections of EMbaRC and the wider European BRC community via a searchable web portal building on the outcomes of the previous EU projects, CABRI and EBRCN, will be provided. Access and high-quality support and training to research teams are offered from the consortium partners via calls for access; enabling users to work in the partner facilities accessing staff, resources and technologies. Research output will deliver new methods for strain and DNA preservation, novel techniques for identifying species and high through put screening for natural products. The networking elements create the European node of the OECD envisaged Global Biological Resource Centre Network.
EMbaRC will work very closely with organisations, International Projects and initiatives thus providing outreach and enabling co-ordination of mutual activities. This will ensure that efficient common practical approaches are implemented in compliance with international standards and national policies and regulations, and that an international operational framework will be created that will improve the research tools for biotechnology.
EDIT European Distributed Institute of Taxonomy
CBS is also involved in the EDIT project, a Network of Excellence funded under the Sixth Framework Program of the EU. In EDIT, NL-TAF is coordinating workpackage 3 on integration of the infrastructure basis for leading taxonomic facilities in Europe. The main task of CBS in WP3 is the coordination of DNA Barcoding. The National History Museum Naturalis, Leiden, is leading this workpackage, and Gerard Verkley is the Team Leader for CBS. Other CBS staff involved are Ursula Eberhardt, Wouter Spek, and Kasper Luijsterburg. In October 2007, CBS organized the DNA-Barcoding in Europe Meeting in collaboration with the other Dutch partners in the EDIT consortium. CBS also maintains a website for the European Consorium for the Barcode of Life (www.ecbol.org), which is intended as a platform for European institutes involved in Barcoding of all organism groups.
Involvement in other, recently concluded projects
CBS represented the Dutch government in two working parties of the task force Biological Resource Collections of the OECD, followed by that on the Global Biological Resource Centres Network (GBRCN). This was concluded with a 2-day workshop in Paris at OECD headquarters, where the German government offered to host and support a pilot GBRCN for three years.
Ongoing concern about bioterrorism strongly increased the interest of politicians in culture collections. Attention is being paid to the organisms that are maintained and curated, and to the way the distribution of these organisms is managed, with special focus on the security measurements instituted to prevent undesired use. For these reasons CBS participated in the OECD Working Party on Biotechnology, dealing with issues related to biosecurity (bioterrorism) in the context of the development of a global Biological Resource Centre. Especially the possible threats to agriculture and environment create problems in risk assessment, which is a basic responsibility of BRC’s.
The collection participated in several EU projects. European Biological Resources Centres Network (EBCRN), for the establishment of a framework to maximize complementarities and minimize duplications among European Biological Resource Centres (BRCs). CBS analyzed the amount of duplication between the European collections and the reasons for duplication. It could be concluded that most duplication was justified (e.g. ex-type strains and tester strains) and the actual percentage of unnecessary duplication was below two percent.
SYNTHESYS (www.synthesys.info) is another FP6 programme, comprising 20 European natural history museums and botanic gardens, aiming to create an integrated European infrastructure for researchers in the natural sciences. SYNTHESYS is setting standards for collection management and databases, and aims to raise scientists’ awareness of best practice by offering improved training and workshop opportunities, and guidelines for the care, storage and conservation of collections. The project will also provide new policies on emerging technologies for storing collections, such as DNA samples or tissue banks.
CBS also participated in EuroCat (European Catalogue of Life), a Species 2000 project, aiming at developing an interactive webbased catalogue.
In 2005-2007 the digitalisation project large-scale support from the National Science Organisation (NWO), the Netherlands of the four major Dutch taxonomic institutes [Naturalis, National Herbarium Netherlands (NHN), Amsterdam University Zoological Museum (ZMA) and CBS] financed by NWO digitized millions of herbarium specimens, and also produced species banks for ecologically or economically important groups of organisms. The Database Managers Committee controlling the process was chaired by CBS. The data for the 20.000 specimens present in the CBS herbarium have all been digitized. A concept for a new service referred to as “species banks” with web-based curating possibilities is being developed.