The Biological Research Collection (COBI) is a repository of natural history specimens and jointly curated collections such as frozen tissues and other physical samples, e.g. DNA libraries and digital images. The collection contains specimens from coastal to deep-sea environments collected under sampling programs of several Research Projects. The specimens are being prepared in a way that ensures their utility and are accessible to all qualified users. Specimen-associated information is managed through archiving in Specify 6 and GIS databases. COBI also has a bibliographic collection of 4015 references that gives support to the biological collection.


The Biological Research Collection of Marine Invertebrates (COBI) was started in 1999, by Ascensão Ravara under the supervision of Professor Maria Helena Moreira. By that time the Biology Department of the University of Aveiro already had a considerable amount of Biological material resulting from several surveys that took place in Portuguese coastal ecosystems. The aim of the collection was to be used as a tool to assist the identification of Portuguese marine invertebrates, and to be a contribution to the national and international scientific community by providing specimens for taxonomic, genetic, biogeographic and evolutionary studies.

Following the retirement of Professor Maria Helena Moreira, in 2004, Doctor Marina Cunha assumed the supervision of the collection which has been managed with the assistance of Dr Ascensão Ravara (often on a voluntary basis). In the past years, the collection has been considerably improved in either infrastructures and the amount and diversity of biological material deposited. Presently, the collection includes 5106 registers of 972 taxa (the majority to species level) collected mainly in Portuguese waters and NE Atlantic, but also from other areas. Thirteen Phyla of invertebrate fauna are represented: Annelida, Arthropoda, Bryozoa, Cnidaria, Chordata, Echinodermata, Ectoprocta, Entoprocta, Mollusca, Nemertea, Platyhelminthes, Porifera and Sipuncula. This fauna was collected in a wide variety of habitats, from the intertidal to deep-sea environments, including submarine canyons, cold seeps, mud volcanoes, and hydrothermal vents.

Publications including Cobi collection numbers:

Ravara A, Marcal AR, Wiklund H, Hilario A (2015) First account on the diversity of Ophryotrocha (Annelida, Dorvilleidae) from a mammal-fall in the deep-Atlantic Ocean with the description of three new species. Systematics and Biodiversity. 13, 6, 875-890.

Aguado MT, Rouse G (2011) Nautiliniellidae (Annelida) from Costa Rican cold seeps and a western Pacific hydrothermal vent, with description of four new species. Systematics and Biodiversity, 9(2): 109-131.

Bhaud M, Ravara A, Marcano G, Moreira MH (2002) Mesochaetopterus sagittarius: an example of a biogeography discrepancy between larval and adult boundaries: implication for recruitment studies. Journal of the Marine Biological Association of the United Kingdom, 82: 565-572.

Corbera J, Segonzac M, Cunha MR (2008) A new deep-sea genus of Nannastacidae (Crustacea, Cumacea) from the Lucky Strike hydrothermal vent field (Azores Triple Junction, Mid-Atlantic Ridge). Marine Biology Research, 4(3): 180-192.

Cunha MR, Wilson GDF (2003). Haplomunnidae (Crustacea: Isopoda) reviewed, with a description of an intact specimen of Thylakogaster Wilson & Hessler, 1974. Zootaxa, 326: 1-16.

Cunha MR, Wilson GDF (2006) The North Atlantic genus Heteromesus (Crustacea: Isopoda: Asellota: Ischnomesidae). Zootaxa, 1192: 1-76.

Dworschak PC, Cunha MR (2007) A new subfamily, Vulcanocalliacinae n. subfam., for Vulcanocalliax arutyunovi n. gen., n. sp. from a mud volcano in the Gulf of Cadiz (Crustacea, Decapoda, Callianassidae). Zootaxa, 1460: 35-46.

Hilário A, Cunha MR (2008) On some frenulate species (Annelida: Polychaeta: Siboglinidae) from mud volcanoes in the Gulf of Cadiz (NE Atlantic). Scientia Marina, 72(2): 361-371.

Hilário A, Johnson SB, Cunha MR, Vrijenhoek RC (2010) High diversity of frenulates (Polychaeta: Siboglionidae) in the Gulf of Cadiz mud volcanoes: a DNA taxonomy analysis. Deep-Sea Research I, 57: 143-150.

Larsen K, Blazewicz-Paszkowycz M, Cunha MR (2006) Tanaidacean (Crustacea: Peracarida) fauna from chemically reduced habitats - the lucky strike hydrothermal vent system, mid-atlantic ridge. Zootaxa, 1187: 1-36.

López-González PJ, Cunha MC (2010) Two new species of Dendrobrachia Brook, 1889 (Cnidaria: Octocorallia: Dendrobrachiidae) from the north-eastern Atlantic and western Mediterranean. Scientia Marina, 74(3): 423-434.

Machado M, Sala J (2013) Tanymastigites lusitanica sp. nov. (Crustacea: Branchiopoda: Anostraca) from Portugal, first representative of the genus in Europe. Zootaxa, 3681(5): 501-523.

Marchini A, Cunha MR, Occhipinti-Ambrogi A (2007) First observations on bryozoans and entoprocts in the Ria de Aveiro (NW Portugal) including the first record of the Pacific invasive cheilostome Tricella inopinata. Marine Ecology, 28(Suppl. 1): 154-160.

Martins R, Carrera-Parra LF, Quintino V, Rodrigues AM (2012) Lumbrineridae (Polychaeta) from the Portuguese continental shelf (NE Atlantic) with the description of four new species. Zootaxa, 3416: 1-21.

Mortimer K, Gil J, Fiege D (2011) Portuguese Magelona (Annelida: Magelonidae) with a description of a new species, a re-description of Magelona wilsoni Glémarec, 1966 and a key to adult Magelonidae from European waters. Italian Journal of Zoology, 78(S1): 124-139.

Moura CJ, Harris DJ, Cunha MR, Rogers A (2008) DNA barcoding reveals cryptic diversity in marine hydroids (Cnidaria, Hydrozoa) from coastal and deep-sea environments. Zoologica Scripta, 37(1): 93-108.

Moura CJ, Cunha MR, Porteiro FM, Rogers AD (2011) The use of DNA barcode gene 16S mRNA for the clarification of taxonomic problems within the family Sertulariidae (Cnidaria, Hydrozoa). Zoologica Scripta, 40(5): 520-537.

Oliver G, Rodrigues CF, Cunha MR (2011). Chemosymbiotic bivalves from the mud volcanoes of the Gulf of Cadiz, NE Atlantic, with descriptions od new species of Solemyidae, Lucinidae and Vesicomyidae. Zookeys, 113: 1-38.

Ravara A, San Martín, G, Moreira MH (2004) Syllidae from the continental shelf off Aveiro (NW Portugal) with the description of a new species, Syllis licheri (Annelida, Polychaeta, Syllidae). Senckenbergiana Biologica, 84(1/2): 1-11.

Ravara A, Cunha MR, Rodrigues CF (2007) The occurrence of Natsushima bifurcata (Polychaeta: Nautiliniellidae) in Acharax hosts from mud volcanoes in the Gulf of Cadiz (south Iberian and north Moroccan Margins). Scientia Marina, 71(1): 95-100.

Ravara A, Wiklund H, Cunha MR, Pleijel F (2010) Phylogenetic relationships within Nephtyidae (Polychaeta, Annelida). Zoologica Scripta, 39: 394-405.

Ravara A, Cunha MR, Pleijel F (2010) Nephtyidae (Annelida, Polychaeta) from southern Europe. Zootaxa, 2682: 1-68.

Ravara A, Moreira MH (2013) Polychaeta (Annelida) from the continental shelf off Aveiro (NW Portugal): species composition and community structure. Check List, 9(3): 533-539.

Rodrigues CF, Oliver PG, Cunha MR (2008) Thyasiroidea (Mollusca: Bivalvia) from the mud volcanoes of the Gulf of Cadiz (NE Atlantic). Zootaxa, 1752: 41-56.

Rodrigues CF, Paterson GLJ, Cabrinovic A, Cunha MR (2011) Deep-sea ophiuroids (Echinodermata: Ophiuroidea: Ophiurida) from the Gulf of Cadiz (NE Atlantic). Zootaxa, 2754: 1-26.

Biological Research Collection of Marine Invertebrates

Location of the Cobi registers

Number of taxa per phylum in Cobi

Number of taxa per depth in Cobi