Diatoms through the microscope.

Diatoms through the microscope.

Additional Resources

NOAA Participates in Ocean Sampling Day in the U.S.

On June 21, 2014, the summer solstice, thousands of scientists will join together to participate in Ocean Sampling Day (OSD), an international collaboration to collect water samples from ocean and rivers around the world. Within the water samples, scientists will also be collecting things so small that, in most cases, they are invisible to the naked eye. Some, in fact, are so tiny that up to a million of them can live in just one millimeter of seawater! The nearly invisible items of scientific interest are living organisms that make up 98 percent of the biomass in Earth’s ocean and they are responsible for most of the biological activity that takes place within it. They are marine microbes - Bacteria, Archaea, Eukaryota, and viruses – and they are found everywhere, from the ocean surface to deep within rocks beneath the ocean floor. Why should we be interested in these tiny organisms and the water in which they live and what does this have to do with OSD?

Microbes are pervasive and can evolve rapidly in response to changes in the environment and could be used as indicators of ocean change. In fact, marine microbes are “the canary in the coal mine” for the marine environment and it is very important to acquire baseline information from all over the world against which future changes could be observed and measured, and this is where Ocean Sampling Day comes in.

To help fulfill NOAA’s mission of science, service and stewardship and its vision of supporting biological resilience in an environment of continual change, the following page provides links to resources that increase awareness and involvement in OSD and help you explore more of our little known, mostly unseen ocean world.

Related Links:

  • What a Day for the Ocean Microbes! Classroom Activity – A classroom activity for students in Grades 6-12 focusing on OSD. Students will be able to explain how OSD will contribute to building the largest dataset on microbial diversity and function by collecting marine microbial samples at one point in time over multiple years on a global scale. Ways that students and school groups may become involved with OSD are included.


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