Guidelines for using Animals in Research and Education at the MBL

  1. Look over the instruction sheet for the form entitled INITIAL APPLICATION FOR THE USE OF VERTEBRATE ANIMALS. Researchers are required by law to consider alternatives to the use of vertebrate animals in research. Specifically:
    1. look over the lecture and lab procedures to see how you might REFINE the laboratory exercises in ways that less harmful or painful procedures might substitute for a traditional lab exercise;
    2. look for ways to REDUCE the total number of animals used by avoiding unnecessary duplication of work or by doubling up students for individual experiments. Extra animals can be shared with other researchers. Check with the animal care staff for placement;
    3. and look for ways to REPLACE warm-blooded laboratory animals with cold-blooded vertebrates, invertebrates, tissue culture systems, or computer simulations.
  2. Carefully consider the appropriateness of using aquatic animals for your laboratory exercises. The MBL is specifically geared to provide high-quality aquatic animals for research. Not only are aquatic animals often less expensive (e.g. in-house animals do not require additional shipping charges and per diem charges) but much expert advice is also available on campus for many aspects of their aquatic biology. You are encouraged to take advantage of the local talents for consultation and collaboration (see research guide) when choosing an experimental animal. Using aquatic animals also increases the opportunity to place students for special projects within other labs.
  3. Consider the above issues when choosing faculty for course specialty areas. Researchers who use aquatic animal models can reduce your overall course costs as pointed out in 2) above.
  4. When designing lecture and lab schedules, allow for time and space considerations and feel free to check with the animal care staff on issues of availability, housing, and costs. In many cases it is impossible to supply the type of animal, in the required quantities, and by the date requested simply because of short notice. Unusual animals, animals with specific care requirements or those that require unusual amounts of labor are expensive in terms of overall course costs. If a procedure requires large numbers of animals, numbers of different species for comparative work, or requires special housing requirements for an exotic animal, PLEASE CHECK WITH THE ANIMAL CARE STAFF FOR INFORMATION AND ARRANGEMENTS IN ADVANCE OF APPROVING THE FINAL LABORATORY SCHEDULE FOR YOUR COURSE.
  5. A useful way to view the overall animal needs for your course is to create a master “animal use plan” to which you can refer during the course. Useful information should include: Date of animal order, Date of expected animal arrival (availability), Date supervising faculty member arrives, and the Date(s) of expected use. Such a chart will point out logistical conflicts that are solved more effectively in the planning stage. Be advised that before any vertebrate animal, can be used in a procedure at the MBL, IT MUST HAVE AN APPROVED ANIMAL USE PROTOCOL #. These numbers are assigned by the MBL IACUC only after review of your application. Protocols should be submitted 3 weeks before the expected usage date so that unexpected needs or last minute changes to laboratory exercises can be accommodated. The animal care staff is usually able to accommodate all reasonable requests. In general, animal orders from outside suppliers must be placed a minimum of 2 weeks before the expected date of arrival so make sure your protocols are submitted in time for both the IACUC’s review and, subsequently, for orders to be placed.
  6. Familiarize yourself with current MBL purchasing requirements. All bird, amphibian, and mammal orders must be placed through Daniel Johnson, the animal care technician (x7288, Reptiles must be ordered directly from the Purchasing Department. Aquatic animals that are available through the current Marine Resources Catalogue can be purchased directly from the Aquatic Resources Division. Please be aware that purchase orders for vertebrate animals must now include your APPROVED PROTOCOL # or your order cannot be placed. See the application instructions sheet for additional information.
  7. Here is a list of contacts who can help you with animal care issues:


Protocols, health certificates, legal requirements, experimental or surgical procedures, special housing requirements for warm blooded animals, and general questions on veterinary care:

Marko Horb, PhD
Chairman, IACUC
Email Marko Horb

Lisa Abbo, DVM
Director, Marine Resources Department
MBL Veterinarian
Email Lisa Abbo

Special housing requirements for warm blooded animals and general questions:

Daniel Johnson
Animal Care Facility
Animal Care Coordinator
TEL: 508-289-7288
Email Daniel Johnson

Aquatic animal selection, availability, housing, support, and special housing requirements for aquatic animals:

Lisa Abbo, DVM
Director, Marine Resources Department
MBL Veterinarian
Email Lisa Abbo

Forms, meeting schedules, copies of previous actions:

IACUC Recording Secretary
TEL: 508-289-7700
FAX: 508 289-7900

Organisms Purchased From Outside Commercial Vendors

The MBL will place all orders with vendors outside the MBL, for all live organisms required by in-residence scientific staff. To comply with federal grant guidelines and MBL policies pertaining to exotic species, the MBL has implemented the followingapproval requirements prior to placing order for all living organisms (animals; plants):

  • Vertebrates: If birds, amphibians, or mammals are being requested, those requests should be communicated to the animal care technician who will be responsible for filling out the Purchase Order (PO) and placing the orders. (An IACUC approved protocol is required before the technician can place any order).
  • If reptiles are being ordered, deliver the PO form to the MBL Veterinarian or the IACUC Chairperson to obtain the required IACUC approved protocol number and approved signature. The researcher can then deliver the approved PO to the Purchasing Department and the order will be placed.
  • Non-Vertebrates: Live non-vertebrate animals do not require an IACUC approved protocol to be ordered. PO forms must be delivered to the Superintendent of Marine Resources, or the MRC Director, to obtain the necessary signature.
  • Additionally, a copy of the PO (green copy) must be sent to the MRC secretary.

The veterinarian must be notified of the location of animal tanks and pens upon arrival of birds, amphibians and reptiles maintained in the Lillie, Whitman and Loeb laboratories.

In-house Organisms Collected by The Department of Marine Resources, Aquatic Resources Division (ARD)

To place an order for in-house organisms collected by the Department of Marine Resources, use the following procedures:

  • Scientific staff requesting to purchase live specimens collected by the ARD need to complete a specimen order card, which is available in the Marine Resources Specimen Shipping Office, (MRC 114).
  • Vertebrates: These animals require an approved IACUC protocol, thus an animal use protocol must FIRST be submitted to the IACUC Committee three (3) weeks before the first date of use of the specimens. When approved, information listing the approved protocol number and the total number and type of animals allowed on the protocol will be supplied to the ARD order department by the MBL Veterinarian or IACUC Chairperson. Only then can vertebrate animals be ordered and received from the ARD.
  • Non-Vertebrates: These animals do not require an IACUC approved protocol, thus simply leave the card in the Marine Resources Specimen Shipping Office, (MRC 114) and the order will be filled as requested.