Biobanking for conservation: Why cryopreservation is essential for addressing our biodiversity crisis

13 July 2021, 18:00 - 19:30

As highlighted in the Intergovernmental Science-Policy Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services (IPBES) Global Assessment Report, humanity is facing a biodiversity crisis with an estimated million species at risk of extinction. Cryopreservation (often called biobanking), through the cryogenic preservation of DNA, blood and or tissues and reproductive cells is an increasingly feasible conservation support option for a wide range of taxa groups. However, the number of species currently represented in biobanks remains extremely low relative to the conservation need and the availability of suitable material, especially in zoos and aquariums. To realise biobanking’s conservation potential it needs to become a normalised component of the one plan approach for species conservation. This event will provide an overview of conservation biobanking and the challenges it faces, whilst emphasising how and why biobanking should be incorporated into mainstream conservation planning to combat the biodiversity crisis. Experts will explore a variety of biobanking initiatives to show how new specimens can be incorporated, and reveal advances in coral cryopreservation and its conservation significance. 


  • Paul Pearce-Kelly, Zoological Society of London: "Why biodiversity conservation needs cryopreservation"
  • Professor William Holt, University of Sheffield and Smithsonian Institution, Washington DC: "Biobanking for breeding threatened species"
  • Kirsty Lloyd, CryoArks, Natural History Museum: "The UK animal biobanking landscape supporting research and conservation"
  • Dr Mary Hagedorn, Smithsonian Conservation Biology Institute and Hawaii Institute of Marine Biology: "Technological Advances to Help Save Coral Reefs"



Find out more about the speakers and their talks in the Agenda and Abstract bookPDF icon Agenda and Abstracts - Biobanking for conservation - 13 July 2021.pdf (368.44 KB) (368.44 KB)


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Science and Conservation Event Details:

  • This interactive online event was livestreamed to our YouTube channel, which can be found here:, alongside recordings of all our previous online events.
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  • Each event will comprise of 3-4 presentations from experts in the topic, similar to our previous event series.
  • Thank you to everyone who submitted a question - we encourage you to watch our events live so you can take part!
  • There was no charge for this event, and no need to register in advance to watch the livestream.
  • This event was produced by Eleanor Darbey, hosted by Charlotte Coales and facilitated by Tendai Pottinger, ZSL.


ZSL Wild Science Podcast

We will be creating a fascinating podcast episode featuring some of the speakers from this event, so keep an ear out in the following months! Listen to previous episodes from our award winning ZSL Wild Science podcast episodes produced by Dr Monika Böhm, and Eleanor Darbey here


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