The Ocean Sampling Day : "A leap forward for research on marine biodiversity"
20 June 2014, CIESM News

A worldwide initiative to sequence the Oceans for Marine Microbial Diversity takes place on 21st June. This event, conducted for the first time, will study the biodiversity and ecosystem functioning in marine waters through genomics, the science of sequencing genes and understanding their meaning. More than 150 scientific teams will participate in this initiative.

With the great diversity of Marine Genetic Resources (MGR), sampled and analyzed for basic research or commercial applications, the potential to sustainably deliver considerable wealth and business opportunities to local economies through the development of a wide array of applications in food, pharmaceuticals, cosmetics, is well known. It raises the question of "Research Benefits for Whom?".

The signature of the CIESM Charter will be organized at the Mediterranean Science Commission Headquarters in Monaco, in presence of the Director General of CIESM, Professor Frédéric Briand, and that of Professor Frank Oliver Glöckner, Chairman of the scientific committee of marine microbiology & biotechnology and Coordinator of Micro B3*.

The CIESM Charter on Access and Benefits Sharing arising from the utilization of Marine Genetic Resources is conceived to stimulate research and development and provides ethical guidelines to providers, enquirers and end-users regarding this issue. It emphasizes essential core values, such as fair and equitable sharing of benefits, transparency, reciprocal relations.

The CIESM Charter applies to parties engaging in the collection and exploitation of Marine Genetic Resources in the Mediterranean, emphasizing that the Region maintains and protects the access to knowledge to everyone and prevents abuses of the ocean global commons.

Frank Oliver Glöckner, Coordinator of Micro B3*, strongly encourages the OSD scientists from different regions – Atlantic, Pacific, Indian Oceans – participating in the OSD event to respect these core values, following the example of the Mediterranean. On behalf of the consortium and on behalf of the OSD participants, he will sign the CIESM Charter on Access and Benefits Sharing, on the 21st of June in Monaco.
You can read the content of the Charter at

The signature of the CIESM Charter in the context of the Ocean Sampling Day is a unique opportunity for scientists to add their voices on this key issue, and demonstrate that they support the exploration of marine ecosystems by promoting the sustainable use of MGRs without penalizing potential biotechnological (economical) development.

Micro B3 (Biodiversity, Bioinformatics and Biotechnology) is a project funded by the EU to facilitate the whole process from sampling and marine data acquisition to analysis and interpretation. It leads to better understanding of marine ecosystems and paves the way for novel biotechnological applications.


Michèle Barbier, Scientific Officer, CIESM

Further info:
CIESM (, the Mediterranean Science Commission, is supported by 23 Member Governments to promote international research in the Mediterranean and Black Seas. The Commission covers a broad spectrum of marine disciplines, relying on a pool of vast human resources: over 4,000 marine scientists from some 550 research institutes in more than 30 countries. On this basis, CIESM produces authoritative, impartial reports on the status and trends of Mediterranean marine systems, together with sharp recommendations on priorities for action, research and development on a large range of sensitive issues concerning the whole Mediterranean Basin.