Preparation & Shipment

Sample Collection and Storage

Proper cryopreservation and storage of samples is critical for succesful single cell genomics analyses. Please refer to our recommended protocol for aquatic, sediment and soil sample cryopreservation. Other types of samples (e.g. biofilms, tissues) first have to be treated to disperse cells into aquatic suspension. Each type of sample may require a somewhat unique solution. We strongly recommend using the simplest and fastest possible sample treatment to minimize cell and DNA damage, such as a 1 minute-long vortexing in a neutral pH buffer of similar ionic strength as the environmental sample.

To be suitable for processing at SCGC, samples should not contain substances that may compromise DNA quality (e.g. aldehydes), cell integrity, or subsequent staining/probing. Please prepare at least three, replicate vials. Please consult with SCGC personnel if you plan to conduct any sample processing prior to cryopreservation that is different from our recommendations. SCGC can also process unpreserved, live samples, in which case the timing of sample collection has to be adjusted to the SCGC cell sorting schedule (on SCGC’s home page).  For samples with salinities above 35 psu, please include 10-50 mL of untreated sample, to be used for potential sample dilution prior to cell sorting.

Sample Shipping

When shipping samples to SCGC, please use FedEx overnight services and send the packages out on a Monday, to ensure that they arrive before the following weekend. Shipping out on a Friday for delivery early the following week is also a good option. Please do not ship during or right before holidays in the US or the country of origin. Please use a styrofoam container enclosed in corrugated packaging (cardboard), and include at least 10 kg (20 lb) dry ice for domestic shipments or 20 kg (40 lb) dry ice for international shipments. Please place cryovials in some small container to protect them from potential mechanical damage during shipping.

If you are shipping soil samples (foreign or domestic), you must include a copy of SCGC’s USDA soil permit with the shipment and attach a PPQ Form 550 Black/White label to the exterior of the package. Soil samples must be shipped in a securely closed, watertight container (test tube, vial, etc.) which must be enclosed in a second, durable watertight container. The shipment must be free from foreign matter or debris, plants and plant parts including noxious weeds and infestations by other macroorganisms. Please contact SCGC manager for additional information and to request permission to submit a soil sample. Please also note that ocean sediment does not fall under this category.

IMPORTANT: Please e-mail parcel tracking number to SCGC manager.

Shipping address:

Bigelow Laboratory for Ocean Sciences
Attn: Brian Thompson
60 Bigelow Drive
East Boothbay, ME 04544


Phone: +1 207 315 2567