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28.06.2013 Worldwide Microbial Diversity in the Seas

Pilot Ocean Sampling Day 2013
Worldwide Microbial Diversity in the Seas
Pilot Ocean Sampling Day 2013

Marine microbes are the ‘gatekeepers’ for the Earth System with an estimated contribution to global primary productivity between 50% to 90%. Although the unseen microbial world in the ocean is vital for the earth system, very little is known of microbial diversity and function in the marine ecosystem. Scientist of the EU 7FP project Micro B3 ( try to address this issue by coordinating a massive sampling event of the world’s oceans followed by an in depth analysis of marine microbes. This simultaneous sampling campaign is called the Ocean Sampling Day (OSD) and will be placed on the summer solstice (June 21st) in the year 2014. The main idea is to get as many samples as possible from various different marine habitats across Europe and beyond. The sample collection allows an unprecedented DNA-based diversity and functional analysis of marine bacteria and is an important step towards understanding the impact of microorganisms on the global ecosystem.

As part of ramping up the official Ocean Sampling Day (OSD) in 2014 the scientists are running pilot-OSD studies to help establish the co-ordination, logistics, bioinformatics and policies required to gear the main event. Along with contextual data the idea is to sample at least one liter of seawater per site in a standardized manner followed by 16S rRNA gene sequencing (and potentially some metagenomes). The standardized procedure ensures a high level of consistency and correlation between data points across all OSD participants.
On June 21st 2013 the third OSD Pilot study took place on 50 different research sites worldwide ranging from Northern Europe to Antarctica and from Australia to USA. In Germany the well experienced long term ecological research site Helgoland Roads took part headed by Dr. Antje Wichels (Alfred Wegner Institute Bremerhaven). Helgoland is one of the leading sites for OSD and works in close collaboration with the Micro B3 Coordinator Prof. Dr. Frank Oliver Glöckner and the OSD Core Team, Prof. Dr. Dawn Field, Dr. Mesude Bicak, both University of Oxford, and Dr. Anna Klindworth, MPI Bremen.
For the main OSD event, on June 21st 2014, Micro B3 expects to receive more than 500 samples from around the world. The resulting data will provide insights into fundamental rules describing microbial diversity and function. Moreover, it will facilitate detecting candidate genes to be explored by targeted laboratory experiments for biotechnology and for assigning potential functions to unknown genes. With sites around the word from various different marine habitats the OSD dataset clearly has the potential to serve as a reference dataset for generations of experiments to follow in the coming decade.

Frank Oliver Glöckner, coordinator of Micro B3 says:
“The Ocean Sampling Day planned for 2014 will be an unprecedented orchestrated event to measure marine microbial diversity and function. We think it has the potential to serve as a reference data set for generations of experiments to come.”
The Micro B3 project is leading an open call to participate in Ocean Sampling Day hoping to invite more external participants to join the main OSD event. If you are associated with a marine research site, research cruise or a sailor/skipper and would like to participate in the OSD 2014 (or prior pilot activities) or simply would like to receive more information; please send an email to [Bitte aktivieren Sie Javascript]
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From Left to Right: Frank Oliver Glöckner (Micro B3 Coordinator), Anna Klindworth (OSD Core Team), Mesude Bicak (OSD Core Team), Katja Lehmann (River Sampling Day Coordinator) and Dawn Field (OSD Lead Coordinator).
OSD Pilot sampling at Mer-Station Biologique de Roscoff, France. Source: Service Mer-Station Biologique de Roscoff
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