Puerto Rico Center for Tropical Biodiversity and Bioprospecting

The Center for Tropical Biodiversity and Bio-prospecting will enable a number of efforts aimed at advancing the exploration of tropical biodiversity, the development of searchable collections of biological specimens from tropical environments, the conservation of biodiversity resources and the commercialization of biodiversity-derived products.

Strategy and Goals

Tropical biodiversity has been recognized worldwide as a valuable asset with numerous potential benefits to Society: environmental, educational and monetary. In Puerto Rico, there have been important efforts to explore, describe, catalog and conserve biodiversity and to foster the development of “bio-prospecting”, or the systematic identification of potentially useful substances in a given environment.

However, it is common that many of these efforts take place in a disconnected fashion since there has never been a regional strategy to provide focus toward common goals.

The Center for Tropical Biodiversity and Bioprospecting has been established to guide the diverse efforts in these fields toward:

  • A legal framework to protect biodiversity resources and the sharing of any benefits arising from biodiversity.
  • A strategy for the establishment of a searchable, curated collection of either biological specimens or environmental genomic data.
  • A database to enable the sharing of such information on biological/data collections.
  • The identification of existing bio-prospecting initiatives with high probabilities of commercial advancement.
  • The establishment of links with analogous efforts in the Caribbean region.

Areas of Focus

  • Tropical ecology
  • Taxonomy
  • Microbiology
  • Biodiversity
  • Bio-prospecting


Dr. Abel Baerga
Acting Director of the PRCTBB