The Current and Future Situations of Marine Resources as Potential Pharmaceutical Products

This topic submitted by Megan Sabal ( at 7:01 PM on 4/12/07.

Jen, Stacy and Tom relax on their way to Gaulin Reef in the Bahamas

Tropical Field Courses -Western Program-Miami University

Coral reefs harbor some of the most outstanding biodiversity found in the world. Many of these organisms posses unique characteristics which utilize chemical compounds in movement, predation, defense and communication. Many of these bioactive compounds have significant potential to be used in pharmaceutical products and combat disease. There are a variety of obstacles in pursuing marine bioprospecting such methods for obtaining the chemicals and the unclear boundaries and regulations concerning the use of marine areas as resources. Sustainable and cost-effective methods must be discovered in order to fully utilize the potential in marine bioprospecting.

Biodiversity on coral reefs
Why marine bioprospecting has lagged behind terrestrial efforts
Unique adaptations of coral dwelling organisms which bring about chemical compounds

Harvesting Methods: Limitations
Chemical Synthesis
Wild Harvest
Ex Situ Culture
Cell Culture
Genetic Modification

Bioprospecting Today
Leaders: Japan
U.S. government funding/support
Pharmaceutical Successes
Future Projections

Eco-tourism: Helpful or Harmful?
Indigenous community relationships
SmithKline Beecham Pharmaceuticals: South Africa and Fiji

Control of Marine Resources
Who has jurisdiction?
Convention on Biological Diversity 1993
Law of the Sea Treaty



Bruckner, Andrew W. (2006). Live Saving Products from Coral Reefs. Issues In Science and Technology.

Carter, David W. (2003). Protected Areas in Marine Resource Management: Another Look at the Economics and Research Issues. Ocean & Costal Management. Vol.46, pp. 439-456.

Cutter, Susan, Renwick, William, (2004). Eploitation, Conservation, Preservation: A Geographic Perspective on Natural Resource Use. John Wiley & Sons, Inc.

Mendola, Dominick, Osinga, Ronald, Schaton, Wolfgang, Sipkema, Detmer, Tramper, Johnnes, Wijffels, Rene. (2005). Large-Scale Production of Pharmaceuticals by Marine Sponges: Sea, Cell, or Synthesis? Wiley InterScience.

Tangley, Laura. (1996). Ground Rules Emerge for Marine Bioprospectors. BioScince. Vol. 46, No. 4 pp. 245-249.

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