Toxic algae have serious negative effects varying from fish kills to human illnesses caused by the consumption of shellfish contaminated with algal toxins. The economic impact from blooms of these algae can be devastating to fishing and shellfish industries and tourism. However, bioactive compounds and molecules produced by these toxic algae have also become an interesting and exciting avenue for innovative basic and applied research. The Algal Resources Collection (ARC) at the University of North Carolina Wilmington is the only public collection exclusively dedicated to toxic microalgae in the United States. Currently comprising 424 algal strains, ARC is a major supplier of toxic algae strains for scientists all over the world. Cultures have been extensively used by national and international research community in studies encompassing diverse subject areas, including ecology, taxonomy and phylogeny, comparative genomics, studies on the effects of algal toxins on human and animal health, and for the development of toxin profiles. Cultures are also used to develop alternative solutions for the monitoring and remediation of toxic algae and toxins, as well as in the search of new bioactive compounds in the development of new drugs to treat or cure a variety of diseases. Additionally, ARC researchers and staff are involved in outreach activities that involve diverse educational levels including K-12 teachers and students, undergraduate, graduate and PhD students.<br/><br/>This project seeks to optimize the functionality and accessibility of the ARC as a Living Stocks resource. The main goals are: 1) Enhancement of infrastructure and procedures for the improvement of culturing conditions and workflow efficiency, 2) Improvement of the collection organization and curation practices, and 3) Increase the visibility of the collection to the research community. These improvements will allow ARC to offer their unique cultures to a much larger portion of this scientific community, to take the final step towards the consolidation of the ARC as a community research resource, and to achieve the self-sustainability necessary for its maintenance and expansion.<br/><br/>This award reflects NSF's statutory mission and has been deemed worthy of support through evaluation using the Foundation's intellectual merit and broader impacts review criteria.