Best Practices for Collecting and Preserving Marine Mammal Biological Samples in the ?Omics Era
A. Van Cise, A. Switzer, A. Apprill, C. Champagne, P. Chittaro, N. Dudek, M. Gavery, B. Hancock-Hanser, A. Harmon , N. Kellar, C. Miller, P. Morin, S. Nelms, K. Robertson, I. Schultz, E. Timmins-Schiffman, E. Unal , K. Parsons
SC/68D/SD & DNA/03
The recent rise of ? ?omics? (and other molecular-based research technologies) and improved techniques for tissue preservation have broadened the scope of marine mammal research. These techniques require varying levels of sample quality and preservation methods, and collecting biological samples from wild marine mammals is both logistically challenging and expensive; few research groups possess the required field expertise. To improve the power of marine mammal research, great effort has been made in both the field and the laboratory to collect, preserve, transport, process, and archive samples in a manner that supports their efficient use in a broad range of 'omics studies. However, as this technological toolkit continues to evolve and expand, simply identifying the best methods at each stage can be challenging. Standardization of best practices among marine mammal researchers could maximize the scientific value of biological samples, foster multi-institutional collaborative efforts across fields, and improve the quality of individual studies by removing potential sources of error from the collection, handling, and preservation processes. With these aims in mind, we summarize the relevant literature, current knowledge, and best practices in each of these steps as a resource for scientists interested in exploring collaborative studies and preserving samples in a suitable manner for a broad spectrum of analyses, emphasizing support for ?omics technologies.