Biodiversity biobanks: a landscape analysis
Biobanks are curated collections of biological samples that are preserved at the molecular level,
usually frozen, along with associated data, and managed to high scientific standards. We conducted a 'landscape analysis'—based both on a community survey and a literature review—to determine commonalities, information gaps, and challenges in the various workflows of biodiversity and environmental biobanks. The survey was completed by 55 institutions from more than 20 countries. Its results were compared to other collection-based surveys and complemented by literature research in the areas of general biobank management, staffing, sample handling, storage, (cryo-/)preservation, policies, databases, and networking. We illustrate strengths and weaknesses of biodiversity and environmental biobanks and provide some basic recommendations for improving biobank procedures. In general, we found that increased efforts are needed to standardise biobank workflows or individual workflow components. While general, organism-independent biobanking guidelines already exist, more detailed guidance documents to date mostly address only human biobanking, or a narrow range of biodiversity. We hope to start closing that gap by providing an overview of current protocols and practices in biodiversity and environmental biobanking in form of a handbook, to which the present work is directly related. The handbook is available open-access under https://doi.org/10.3897/ab.e101876.