Marine Mammal and Sea Turtle Research Tissue Collection
Repository for samples contributed by national and international institutions
The Marine Mammal and Sea Turtle Research Tissue Collection is one of the largest marine mammal and marine turtle sample collections in the world, serving a pivotal role in accomplishing the mandates and mission of the Agency. The collection provides the vital scientific tools used to answer, often time-limited, conservation questions effectively. It has been used to determine whether false killer whales in Hawaii warrant protection under the Endangered Species Act (ESA) and if a specific fishery is causing the decline of certain sea turtle stock populations.
The collection comprises over 290,000 tissue and DNA samples from 118 species collected globally over the past 30 years (with some samples dating back more than 100 years). Samples are stored carefully in -20°C and -80° C freezers and secured by a 24-hr temperature monitoring system and generator in case of a power failure. The richness of the collection has provided specimens for an array of studies, including population structure, species identification, sex determination, aging, origin of foraging, reproductive and nutritional status, and phylogenetics,
The collection is the National Repository for marine turtle samples, as well as a highly trusted repository for marine mammal samples contributed by national and international institutions. Specimens are made available to scientists here at our science center as well as to qualified outside researchers through our Sample Request Program. The collection is housed at the Southwest Fisheries Science Center (SWFSC), La Jolla, California. For more information please contact:
Southwest Fisheries Science Center, NMFS, NOAA
8901 La Jolla Shores Dr.
La Jolla, CA 92037
Phone: (858) 546-5697