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Setting sail for Ocean Sampling Day

Posted by Dustin Meagher on June 26, 2015 in Research, Community Outreach, All News
As part of Ocean Sampling Day, Jennifer Tolman and MSc student Jackie Zorz, both with the LaRoche research group, were on Bedford Basin collecting water samples to study marine microbes. (Dustin Meagher photo)
As part of Ocean Sampling Day, Jennifer Tolman and MSc student Jackie Zorz, both with the LaRoche research group, were on Bedford Basin collecting water samples to study marine microbes. (Dustin Meagher photo)

Dalhousie’s LaRoche lab, led by lab manager Jennifer Tolman, set sail on Monday to help the world understand the ocean and it’s tiniest occupants. Microbes make up over 98 per cent of the oceans biomass; however, we have barely scratched the surface when it comes to understanding them.

That’s why Marine Microbial Biodiversity, Bioinformatics, Biotechnology (Micro B3) created Ocean Sampling Day (OSD). OSD is focused on understanding the worlds marine microbes; which are the key to sustaining the ocean’s ecosystem. Samples from across the world are taken around the time of the summer solstice, June 21st, so that a more accurate understanding of the ocean and microbes can be gained.

Read More about Ocean Sampling Day

“The idea of Ocean Sampling Day is to take a global synchronized snapshot of microbial life in the ocean,” says Dr. Tolman. “All around the world, everyone’s looking at the ocean around the same time and day.”

Dalhousie and the LaRoche lab  participated for the second year in a row. However, this time they  invited schools from across Canada to join them. Samples from the ocean surrounding Nova Scotia, Prince Edward Island and even British Columbia — such as the Bedford Basin, Northumberland Strait and Vancouver—were taken and sent to Jacobs University, Germany, and the University of Oxford, U.K. to be analyzed. Upon analysis, the data will be mapped and made available online so that researchers can see the microbes living across the world.

For those who are not members of a particpating organization, there is MyOSD. MyOSD has been designed so that the everyday ocean lover can participate in OSD. Sampling kits and a smartphone app have been created that can be used to collect marine microbes and important environmental data.

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