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Pacific Center for Molecular Biodiversity

Pacific Center for Molecular Biodiversity

The Pacific Center for Molecular Biodiversity (PCMB) is a fully equipped genetics lab set to meet the needs of modern museum biodiversity research and offers a wide range of wildlife forensic DNA analysis for research into biodiversity discovery and analysis and conservation based projects carried out by state, federal and non-governmental agencies in Hawai’i and across the Pacific.

To request consultation for project planning or for pricing inquiries, please contact Dr. Kenneth Hayes, Director of PCMB.

PCMB DNA based Diagnostic Services

PCMB sampling policy

PCMB is not open to the public, but tours may be arranged through Natural Sciences.

PCMB, the primary cryo-preservation facility for the museum, and one of the only cryo-repositories housing non-human specimens in the state houses more than 40,000 tissue and genomic DNA and RNA samples from specimens representing marine, terrestrial, and aquatic organisms found throughout the Pacific. Our -20°C, -86°C (TERACORE 36 cu ft), and liquid nitrogen freezers have capacity for 200,000 samples, providing room for the collection growth as we aim to have at a representative of all species found in Hawaii, focusing heavily on those taxa most threatened with extinction. These samples will allow us to safeguard the genetic material from these taxa for conservation research and preservation for future generations.

All cataloged tissue and genetic samples are entered in the Museum database and linked back to the original specimens housed in other museum collections. Once fully inventoried and linked to specimen data our genetic resources will be made available through the Global Genome Biodiversity Network.

Kenneth A. Hayes, Ph.D.
Director PCMB

Kelli DeLeon
PCMB Research Specialist

Read our latest stories.

Director of PCMB, Ken Hayes removing samples from the liquid nitrogen freezer.
Steptocephalus mackini an ephemeral pool fairy shrimp native to Arizona was found at Kaena Point on Oahu, and identification confirmed, and likely source identified via a DNA barcode by PCMB staff.
Using next generation sequencing approaches, we can tap into the historical collections in the museum and begin reconstructing relationships of Hawaiʻi taxa, including some long extinct species like endemic amastrids.
Hawaiʻi Barcode of Life project aims to produce a DNA sequence for all plants and animals in Hawaiʻi as part of the All Species Hawaiʻi initiative and Hawaiʻi Biological Survey.
Chris Hobbs, PCMB postdoctoral researcher loading DNA into a gel for visualization.
Image of gel electrophoresis of DNA amplified from native Hawaiian land snails.
The Pacific Center for Molecular Biodiversity (PCMB) is the primary cryopreservation facility for Pacific-wide biodiversity. The PCMB collection includes more than 40,000 tissue and genetic samples from marine, terrestrial, and freshwater plants and animals throughout the tropical Pacific, many of which represent threatened, endangered, or extinct species. The center promotes and facilitates biodiversity research and conservation using modern genomic approaches to expand the knowledge and understanding of the natural and cultural history of Hawai‘i and the Pacific region broadly. The laboratory is an integral component of the Museum’s knowledge core and aims to enhance scientific and public understanding of biodiversity research, and foster stewardship and conservation of Hawaiian biological and cultural heritage.
PCMB staff collaborate with scientific, educational, and cultural partners and programs throughout Hawaiʻi, including the University of Hawaiʻi, Hawaiʻi Department of Land and Natural Resources, Hawaiʻi Department of Agriculture, Pacific Rim Conservation, Maui Land and Pineapple, Mālama Learning Center, and United States Fish and Wildlife Services. PCMB in conjunction with the Hawaii Biological Survey (HBS) plays a key role in research, documentation, and conservation of Hawaiian species. While the focus of the HBS is to provide a comprehensive database of all plants and animals in Hawaiʻi, PCMB aids and enhances this using molecular-based techniques to more fully identify and document Hawaiian biodiversity.
In addition to serving as the primary biorepository of cryopreserved tissues, PCMB staff carry out a diverse array of investigations spanning wildlife forensics, conservation and population genetics of rare and endangered species, wildlife parentage studies, and evolutionary research. The Center uses molecular techniques to confirm the identity and origin of unknown species, employs DNA barcode-assisted taxonomy of plants and animals, and determines the diversity and origins of “canoe species” in relation to the migration of Polynesians to Hawaiʻi—an example of molecular bio-anthropology. 

Be a Part of Our Story

Celebrate the extraordinary history, culture, and environment of Hawaiʻi and the Pacific with a gift to Bishop Museum. As a partner in the Museum’s work, you can help to sustain vital collections, research, and knowledge, and inspire exploration and discovery with a tax-deductible donation.

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